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Maroons spike Jackets to celebrate Homecoming

Maroons spike Jackets to celebrate Homecoming
Butte Central's Olivia Bolton (3) and Emily St. John (2) go up to block a shot by Stevensville's Mariah Hinson Saturday at the Maroon Activities Center. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bruce Sayler

Butte Central has probably played, sometime in the last two years, prettier volleyball matches that weren’t as dominant as their Homecoming win on Saturday.

The Maroons leveled Stevensville 25-18, 25-14, 25-13 in a Southwestern A Conference match played in the Maroon Activities Center. They were a little streaky, showed some newness at trying to gel and missed on a few cylinders — not seeming altogether cohesive, as of yet.

However, they were certainly successful and forceful. So, as this BC club gets better, well, a scary thought for many of its opponents.

“It was just one of those games,” Butte Central head coach Becky Hancock said. “These girls have been through a long week. They’ve had Homecoming happening and we played at Corvallis earlier in the week, been on the road a lot lately.”

The match with Corvalis was a loss. The Blue Devils were runners-up in last year’s State Class A tournament, Butte Central was third.

“I still told the girls I thought they played their best game this year (versus Corvallis) and I really think that,” Hancock said. “I also told them that was the level of play I expected from them the next time out.

“We didn’t get that today.”
Butte Central took over the lead in the first game when Mollie Peoples served two straight aces for a 7-5 edge on the way to a five-point serving run. She aced again in the run. The Maroons were forced to constantly repel Stevensville challenges, but got to game point at 24-18 on a Yellowjacket hitting error. Emily St. John fired in the winner with the ace judged to be tucked just inside the back border.

Serving runs by St. John and Corbyn Holm took BC to a 17-9 command in the second game. Holm and Homecoming queen Taylor Wahl led the offensive hitting and a kill by Holm took Butte Central to set point, 24-14. Peoples aced the next serve for the win and two-game lead.

In game three, St. John’s four-point serving run carried the Maroons to a 10-4 cushion and they built steadily on the advantage. A Stevensville hitting error created a 10-point margin at 19-9 and, moments later, Peoples served BC to a 24-12 command, thanks to kills by Holm and Olivia Bolton. Butte Central had gained match point on the Peoples run, the point being tallied on a Yellowjacket net violation. After Mariah Hinson blistered a kill for Stevensville, Butte Central closed the match with a Peoples kill from the back row.

“They got it done,” Hancock said. “We weren’t excited out there, but we were winning. And when you’re winning that is exciting. So, I’ll take that. We got a win and there are more wins to expect.”

Holm finished with 11 kills to pace the attack and St. John set 28 of the team’s 29 assists. The Maroons notched 12 aces, led by St. John and Peoples with four apiece. Libero Samantha Burton and Holm shared the team digs lead with six each.

“Our hitters are coming around,” Hancock said. “That’s been our weak point, I think — not putting the ball away. We’re improving on that.

“Our defense, though, has been consistent. We’ve been rocking it back there on defense. We have strong servers, too. Once we get on our serving kicks, that really helps us.”

The BC club is a bit undersized this year, so the persistent floor defense and nailing shots when they come available are most important, the coach said.

“We don’t have a lot of height this year, so we’re trying to make the other teams miss,” she said.

Stevensville’s Mariah Hinson, a powerful hitter, led her team with three aces and 10 kills. Cassie Kopsa scooped 17 digs and Quinn Larson set 17 assists.

The loss put Stevensville at 1-2 in conference matches and 3-3 overall. Butte Central is now 2-2 and 4-2, and will be home on Tuesday against Belgrade in a non-conference fray.

 

Butte Central def. Stevensville 25-18, 25-14, 25-13.

KILLS — Stevi 20 (Mariah Hinson 10, Mikayla Hill 6), BC 33 (Corbyn Holm 11, Mollie Peoples 6, Taylor Wahl 5, Olivia Bolton 4, Kassidy Criscuolo 4, Emily St. John 3). ASSISTS — Stevi 20 (Quinn Larson 17), BC 29 (St. John 28, Wahl 1). ACES — Stevi 5 (Hinson 3, Tilly Grooms 1), BC 12 (St. John 4, Peoples 4, Criscuolo 2, Holm 1, Wahl 1). DIGS — Stevi 52 (Stevi Cassie Kopsa 17, Abby Austin 11), BC 28 (Samantha Burton 6, Holm 6, Wahl 5, St. John 4, Criscuolo 3, Peoples 3, Zoe Sullivan 1). BLOCKS — Stevi 0, BC 1 (Bolton).

 



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