Butte Central has been playing pretty good high school volleyball all season, now, but Tuesday’s match was likely its best showing. It came when it needed, too, as the Maroons swept Corvallis 25-14, 25-16, 25-16 in a matchup of Southwestern A Conference leaders.
“I thought we were strong all across the board,” a quite pleased Becky Hancock, head coach of the BC girls, said after the match in the Maroon Activities Center (MAC). “From our serving to our block, we were on. We emphasized our block in practice (Monday) and that set up our defense tonight.”
Butte Central totaled 11 blocks., by far its most of the season, and the effort came against one of Class A’s better hitting teams. Corbyn Holm and Lacey McGree each had 2 ½ blocks to lead the way.
“We played great defense against a great team and great program,” Hancock said. “I’m proud of the girls and the way they came through. We knew Corvallis would come in with some great hitters. Our block was on, so our defense was able to set up.
“Our block also frustrated their hitters and took them out of their game.”
Hancock said the block was a highlight of the victory, but also emphasized it was a team effort to come up with the win. The Maroons compiled 41 kills over a three-set match, and was led in the category by hard-hitting Teresa Piazzola with 14 and McGree with nine. Emily St. John again set all the assists, this time the number was 36.
St. John also nailed half of the team’s six aces while libero Mollie Peoples led in digs with 12.
An early service run by Piazzola staked Butte Central to an early 5-1 lead in the first game. The Maroons built on it. A block by Holm opened the margin to 21-11, and a couple serves later, McGree, hammered home a 50-50 ball for game point at 24-12. The Blue Devils fought off a couple of points before the Maroons connected on a Ryan Trudnowski shot from the middle to win the set.
Corvallis came out swinging in the second game and stayed with the BC club. That was until Holm served nine straight points for a 17-7 Butte Central advantage.St. John, McGree and Piazzola all scored in the run on blocks or kills, with St. John’s being a fake set she dumped over the net. Holm also sizzled an ace in the run. The Maroons were able to maintain a mostly comfortable gap and hit game point at 24-16 when Corvallis was whistled for a net violation. Holm then pounded a floater hanging above the net into the Blue Devil side for the final point of the set.
Butte Central took control of the third game at the onset. The Maroons led 3-0 after a Trudnowski block, a block shared by Holm and Trudnowski and on a kill by Holm. They built on the advantage, turning away upset attempts by Corvallis and the theme continued to match point, which came at 24-16 on a kill by Piazzola. The Piazzola shot was a floater that carried past the first row of the defense and she blistered it from near the second row. St. John was serving and the Blue Devils then hit a shot into the net. The match ended on the hitting error.
“I just felt tonight that we connected,” Hancock said. “We’ve been staying level and going a game at a time. (The Maroons) are having fun. They have that chemistry right now that successful teams have. We don’t worry so much about the record as much as taking one game at a time.”
The record is pretty good. The BC girls are now 3-0 in conference play and 5-0 in league play, not counting wins of a couple of tournaments. Butte Central will play at Stevensville on Saturday in another league match.
Corvallis leaders included Kate Hurlbert with 15 digs, Holly Wilson with 13 digs, and Genesis Keith and Hannah Capko with eight kills apiece. Wilson wet 16 assists. The loss put the Blue Devils at 3-2 for the season, including a 1-1 conference ledger.
Butte Central def. Corvallis 25-14, 25-16, 25-16.
KILLS — Corvallis 25 (Genesis Keith 8, Hannah Capko 8), Butte Central 41 (Teresa Piazzola 14, Lacey McGree 9, Corbyn Holm 7, Sierra Pica 4, Ryan Trudnowski 4, Emily St. John 3). ASSISTS — Corvallis 22 (Holly Wilson 16, Kate Hurlbert 5), Butte Central 36 (St. John 36). ACES — Corvallis 3 (Taia Tully 2), Butte Central 6 (St. John 3, McKenzie Gallagher 1, Holm 1, Taylor Wahl 1). DIGS — Corvallis 61 (Hurlbert 15, Wilson 13), Butte Central 37 (Mollie Peoples 12, Shawnee Hjelt 8, Piazzola 8, St. John 5, Wahl 5, Holm 4). BLOCKS — Corvallis 2 (Keith 1, Maureen Jessop 1), Butte Central 11 (Holm 3, McGree 3, St. John 2, Piazzola 2, Trudnowski 2, Pica 1).