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Friday, January 19, 2018

Jamie Ausk Crisafulli photo

Lady Devils drop conference opener to experienced Eagles

By Anthony Varriano

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The Dawson County High School volleyball team lost its first game of conference play against Sidney, Thursday, falling in straight sets after leading by as many as seven in the first set.

Sidney 3, Lady Devils 0

The Lady Devils looked excited to play in front of a homecoming crowd, jumping out to a 5-1 lead on a floater killed to the empty spot on the floor by senior Ceeara Staiger, which forced a Sidney timeout early in the first set.

Dawson came out of the timeout and continued rolling to a 7-1 lead, but the Lady Eagles came roaring back on the serve of senior Maddison DiFonzo, making it 8-5. 

“We came out strong, however, Sidney has a strong defensive game,” DCHS head coach Tiffaney Egan said. “They seemed to pick up all we fired their way.”

Staiger moved the momentum back Glendive’s way with a powerful kill that made it 10-5. Junior Jaley Wyse gave Glendive its biggest lead with a huge kill to the open corner that made it 16-9, but Sidney’s experience started to show.

The Lady Eagles are deep, with eight seniors making up the nine-player, varsity roster. The 5-11 DiFonzo seemed to get in the way of everything Dawson wanted to do. She recorded a block that made it 17-12 and started the Sidney rally.

It was 21-19 Glendive after Hannah Bogar found the hole in the defense for a kill. Dawson rolled with the serve of Thea Robson for a while. Her deep serves took some of the aggressiveness out of Sidney’s offense.

The Lady Eagles hung around, though, serving for a tie at 22-21 and winning a long point on a ball that would have been out had it not been played by a Lady Devil. Dawson took a timeout to talk about crunch time, but Sidney won the first point out of the timeout and then the next to serve set point at 24-22.

Dawson came back to serve for the tie at 24 on a kill from junior Addie Reinhart. Wyse played a smart kill into the defender’s arm that fell to tie it at 24 and force a Sidney timeout. Wyse had four kills and added nine assists.

It stayed tied at 25 until a service fault from Sidney senior Mateya Coffman, but Dawson couldn’t finish it on the next point, and that was all Sidney needed to complete the comeback, 28-26.

Glendive started well in the second set, too, with an ace falling for Reinhart on a Sidney miscommunication to start it off. Staiger found a crease between the hands of blockers to make it 4-2, but a service fault killed any potential momentum for DCHS. 

Sidney tied it 4-4 on an ace by DiFonzo, and took the lead with a kill to the middle of the floor. Dawson’s service continued to hurt them, and the Lady Devils talked about it during a timeout down 5-8.

The Lady Devils found the success they had early in the first set, getting the ball up to senior Taya Torres in the middle of the court and near the net. Her kill made it 7-10, and then her block made it 8-10 Sidney. She had five kills and two blocks on the night.

Again, Dawson’s momentum was halted by a service fault, but Torres bailed the Lady Devils out again with a kill to get service back at 10-12. They wouldn’t score much more after that, though.

The Lady Devils really had trouble getting kills past the tall blockers of Sidney, and were setting up their offense from too deep in their own end in order to score. They dropped the second set 11-25.

The Lady Devils looked best in the third set, as senior Abby Hill played a smart tip behind her head for a kill to tie 2-2. She led the team with 11 assists. 

Staiger kept it tied 5-5 with a clean kill to the middle of the Sidney defense. Wyse followed it with an ace for a 6-5 lead. Kayla Kelly scored a kill off a blocker to make it 7-5, but a service error ended the Devil run again.

Torres scored a kill from the middle again to make it 10-9 Dawson and force a Sidney timeout. Dawson didn’t let the timeout ruin its momentum, stretching the lead to 13-9 as Sidney found Robson’s serve troubling again. Robson, the Lady Devils’ new libero, split digs with Staiger. She had 23, and Staiger added 27.

Even when Dawson killed the ball with authority Sidney managed to find life and keep play alive. Paige Metz’s service carried Sidney to a 16-16 tie that forced a Dawson timeout.

Staiger put an end to the run to keep it tied at 17 with a kill to the empty space. She then took a powerful spike off the face and managed to get the kill to tie it at 18 on a long point that had the homecoming crowd fired up. She led the team with seven kills.

Sidney’s seniors weren’t fazed. They rolled to a three-point lead at 18-21 and forced a DCHS timeout that worked to perfection. Sidney mistakes out of the timeout let Glendive back in, down 21-23, but the Lady Eagles shut the door in straight sets, 25-23.

“We did alot of things well. They are improving on a faster rebound to some hard knocks,” Egan said. “Setters are doing well finding a diverse offense. We now need to find holes better.”

The DCHS JV volleyball team dropped the first two sets to Sidney 25-17 and 25-19, only to come back and win the third 17-15. The JV Lady Devils forced a fifth set with a 15-11 win in the fourth, and rebounded in the fifth down 11-7 on the serve of freshman Ashley Clapp, taking the lead 13-12. Tanille Lovato elevated for a block to complete the comeback, 15-12.

The Dawson freshmen also won in five sets. After dropping the first 23-35, they got revenge in another close one, 25-23. A 15-6 Glendive win was reversed for a Sidney win in set four, but the Lady Devils were best in the last set, winning 15-9.

The Lady Devils host Miles City on Saturday, with freshmen playing at 1 p.m. and JV going at 2:30 p.m. The varsity squads start at 4 p.m.

Reach Anthony Varriano at rrsports@rangerreview.com.

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