Corvallis turns back BC spikers

Butte Central battled to the end Saturday night on the volleyball court at the Maroon Activities Center.

It just wasn’t enough to hold off the Blue Devils, as Corvalls left town with a 26-24, 25-15, 26-24 Southwestern A victory.

The loss ended homecoming week for the Maroons on a somber note.

“We fought really hard,” BC coach Kaila Minehan said after her team dropped its third match of the week.

The injury-plagued Maroons fell to Livingston at home on Tuesday before falling at Stevensville on Thursday.

“This has been a tough week,” Minehan said. “Hopefully next week we’ll be in full swing.”

The Maroons were playing without junior middle blocker Sadie Harrington and senior middle blocker Annie Ossello because of injuries. Minehan said she’s hopeful the Maroons will get both back soon.

Also, senior blocker Mariah Cooney was basically playing left-handed because she “tweaked” her arm this week.

Still, the Maroons had four-point leads in both the first and third games.

“We’re definitely struggling to finish games,” Minehan said. “Same thing in Stevensville. We had some opportunities to take some games, and we came up short.”

Kelsey Irwin smashed 16 kills to lead Corvallis’ hard-hitting attack. Joanna Avery tallied eight kills.

Danee Leary and Mariah Cooney paced the attack for BC, which fell to 2-4 overall and 2-3 in conference play.

Leary smacked eight kills to go along with 17 digs, while Cooney notched seven kills and three blocks

Teresa Piazzola killed four, while Danika Neumann recorded a match-high 22 digs.

Shannon McLaughlin collected 13 digs in the loss.

An exchange at the end of the match summed up BC’s struggles.

The Maroons and Blue Devils volleyed back and forth for what seemed like forever before Leary ended the exchange with a thunderous spike to tie the match at 24.

“That kill for Leary was awesome,” Minehan said. “She hits the ball hard.”

The Blue Devils, though, got two quick points to end the night.

Minehan said the Maroons’ solid passing game magnifies the team’s frustration in putting away a game and match.

“Our passing is unreal,” Minehan said. “We’re passing so well right now. That’s the frustrating piece on our offense. We’re not finishing it off.”

The Maroons get a few needed off days now.

The team doesn’t play again until it goes to Belgrade on Friday.

Corvallis def. Butte Central 26-24, 25-15, 26-24

KILLS — Corvallis 33 (Kelsey Irwin 16, Joanna Avery 8), BC 21 (Danee Leary 8, Mariah Cooney 7, Teresa Piazzola 4, Danika Neumann 1, Erin Antonioli 1). ASSISTS — Corvallis32 (Alex Preice 16, Laura Berner 15), BC 21 (Shannon McLaughlin 11, Taylor Marthaller 7, Antonioli 1, Lacey McGree 1, Cooney). BLOCKS — Corvallis 4 (Berner 2, Avery 1, Kelsey Raynal .5, Chantel Jessop .5), BC 3 (Cooney 3). ACES — Corvallis 5 (Katie Patterson 3), BC 4 (Cassidy McGree 4). DIGS — Corvallis 74 (Patterson 20, Price 17), BC 71 (Neumann 22, Leary 17, McLaughlin 13, C. McGree 9, Cooney 4, Marthaller 2, Piazzola 2, Antonioli 1, Pica 1).

BC’s Danee Leary (12) and Shannon McLaughlin celebrate a point late in Saturday’s match.
Corvallis players celebrate an ace during Saturday’s third game.