Bison buffalo Bulldogs with volleys

Butte High’s showing on the volleyball court was not a very positive display Tuesday night. The words afterward from the Bulldogs’ coach reflected as much.

The team was swept by Great Falls High in an Eastern AA Conference match played in the Ross J. Richardson Memorial Gym at Butte High School. The scores were 27-25, 25-13, 25-18.

“Ick,” Dale Burgman said. “We couldn’t get anything going. We were lethargic. We had no consistency.

“We made stupid, stupid, stupid mistakes. It wasn’t just one person, either. We were equal opportunity screwer-uppers.“

The Butte High team has been an up-and-down squad this season as it has looked hard for its chemistry and rhythm. Some glimpses have been brilliant. However, the Bulldogs’ play disintegrated Tuesday night.

“We had moments,“ Burgman said, the frustration relenting some. “Brianna O’Mara, in the first set, had a great game. But we missed serves when we needed serves and we missed passes when we needed passes. We had 14 unforced errors in just the first game and that was one we lost 27-25.“

Butte High leaders for the match included Baylee Thatcher with two service aces, McKaul Ori 15 assists, Carlie Haeffner eight assists, Hattie Thatcher 15 digs and O’Mara 3 ½ blocks.

Great Falls High was led by Aubrey Beaumont with nine kills and three aces, Kelsey Devlin one block, Danica Wassman seven digs and Kasey Linskey 19 assists.

The 27-25 first game saw Great Falls High lead most of the way, then weather a late Butte High rally. Butte High actually took a 25-24 edge when a Bison hit sailed over the end line. Wassman killed for Great Falls to re-tie the score before Devlin put Great Falls ahead with a spike of a Bulldog set that was suspended above the net. Courtney Hammer then put up a hard block on a Butte High shot and it fell in for the set-winner. The Bison had gone ahead for good in the game at 5-4 on a Hammer kill.

The Bulldogs were unable to find spark or momentum in the third game.Beaumont served out the last six points of the game. Three of the Beaumont serves were aces.  Butte High never led in the set and was even for the last time at 5-all after an O’Mara kill. A Bulldog serve traveled too far ad the Bison charged out ahead.

The sweep was completed when a Bulldog spike was too strong and landed beyond the end stripe in game three, giving Great Falls the 25-18 win. The Bulldogs led early in the set behind small serving runs by  Ori and Haeffner. A long serve by Butte High allowed the Bison to snare a 9-8 edge and Great Falls led the rest of the way, Wassman gave the team a good serving run. Game point came at 24-17 on a Beaumont kill. Butte High scored on an O’Mara block before the serving error ended the match.

Butte High is now 0-3 in Eastern AA play and 1-3 overall. The Bulldogs will be home on Saturday for homecoming against preseason state AA favorite Billings Senior in a 2 p.m. match in the Richardson gym.

“Senior went to Wyoming for a tournament last weekend and never lost a set,” Burgman said. “I think I’d rather play the Brazilian National Team.”

The chance of upsetting a highly touted team on homecoming should have the Bulldogs inspired for next weekend, especially after what promises to be a few days of serious practice.

Great Falls High def. Butte High 27-25, 25-13, 25-18

Kills — Great Falls 31 (Aubrey Beaumont 9), Butte 26 (Carlie Haeffner 8, Baylee Thatcher 5, Brianna O’Mara 5, Sammy McGree 4, Jessie Buckley 2, Rachel Anderson 2). Assists — Great Falls 27 (Kasey Linskey 19), Butte 23 (McKaul Ori 15, B. Thatcher 7, Haeffner 1). Aces — Great Falls 5 (Beaumont 3), Butte 2 (B. Thatcher 2). Digs — Great Falls 29 (Danica Wassman 7), Butte 38 (Hattie Thatcher 15, McGree 11, Buckley 6, Ori 4, Haeffner 1, Haley Henderson 1). Blocks — Great Falls 1 (Kelsey Devlin 1), Butte 6 (O’Mara 3 ½, Haeffner 1, Buckley 1, Anderson ½).