Jessie Buckley couldn’t stop smiling Saturday afternoon. Not even after she took a hard spike to the side of the face.
That was the kind of afternoon it was for the Butte High volleyball team. The Bulldogs smiled all the way as they cruised to a 25-15, 25-23, 25-15 Eastern AA sweep of Great Falls Russell at the Ross J. Richardson Memorial Gym.
It was Butte High’s first three-game sweep of the season.
“We played really good,” Buckley said. “When we play as a team we always do good.”
Butte High coach Dale Burgman said he threatened his team with running, running and more running if the team didn’t get along on the court Saturday. That apparently did the trick.
“We had way more enthusiasm,” Buckley said. “We all got along, we didn’t get uptight and we had fun. I think we’re coming along.”
Baylee Thatcher smacked 10 kills to go along with 11 assists, eight digs and about 2 million smiles to lead the Bulldogs statistically.
Carlie Haeffner, who smashed three blocks, and Sammy McGree, each tallied seven kills for the Bulldogs. McGree joined libero Hattie Thatcher with 15 digs. McKaul Ori, who handed out 15 assists, dug up eight.
Buckly killed three and dug seven.
“We played much better,” Burgman said. “We were all over the place.”
The coach pointed to the play of junior Rachel Anderson, whose is being relied upon to fill in for injured Brianna O’Mara. Anderson notched five kills to go along with one and a half blocks. Caileigh Norman also contributed to the Butte win.
“They played together well,” Burgman said. “They picked each other up and they were smiling. I don’t know if it was an act or not, but it worked.”
The Bulldogs are back in action Tuesday when they play host to Bozeman. The team will celebrate Senior Night and honor its two senior captains, Haeffner and Hattie Thatcher.
BUTTE HIGH — Kills 32 (Baylee Thatcher 10, Carlie Haeffner 7, Sammy McGree 7, Rachel Anderson 5, Jessie Buckley 3). Assists 26 (McKaul Ori 15, B. Thatcher 11). Blocks 5 (Haeffner 3, Anderson 1.5, B. Thatcher .5). Aces — 10 (Ori 5, B. Thatcher 3, Haeffner 1, Buckley 1). Digs 56 (McGree 15, Hattie Thatcher 15, B. Thatcher 8, Ori 8, Buckley 7, Anderson 2, Haeffner 1).