Whitefish volleyball tallies two wins on road

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Reporter | September 16, 2020 1:00 AM

The Lady Bulldogs defeated Polson last Tuesday in five sets before traveling to Browning on Thursday to notch another win, that one in straight sets.

In a closely matched back and forth battle against Polson, Whitefish defeated the Pirates (18-25, 25-17, 25-21, 15-25, 15-10) to earn its first victory of the season.

“We started out strong against Polson and then were kind of on a bit of a roller coaster,” Whitefish head coach Addy Connelly said. “It was looking a lot like our game against Libby the previous week except we were able to get into game five, and put it together and finish.”

In the game Connelly added that senior Jenny Patten led by example and did a great job of bringing the team together. Brook Smith led Whitefish with 21 kills, two aces and one block while Mikenna Ells had a team-high 14 assists and three blocks.

“Brook Smith had an amazing game hitting from everywhere on the court, not just out of the front row,” Connelly recalled.

The coach also said she was proud of the girls for being able to adjust within the match to Polson senior Maggie Todd, a hard outside hitter. To start off the match Todd was often hitting over the Bulldogs front-line, but Connelly said her team adjusted their back row defense and made her change up her approach to hitting the ball. Overall the team saw great improvements from one week to the next and stayed in a competitive game.

“It was nice to see some pieces that we’ve been working on, like some mental toughness, coming together in a game,” Connelly said.

Then on Thursday the Lady Bulldogs hit the road again to travel to Browning for a dominating straight-set win, 25-20, 25-14, 25-10. Smith led again with 10 kills and four aces. Ells also had another team high in assists with 11.

All 12 varsity players played in the game, including two swingers from JV. The match proved to be difficult in the way of atmosphere in the gym; while competing at the Browning gym all athletes play with their masks on and there are no fans permitted.

“In Browning it was one of the most bizzare games I’ve ever coached; the girls overcame a lot of adversity…” Connelly said. “They just went with the flow and figured out how to make it work, I was really proud of them for that.”

This week Whitefish was set to play in Columbia Falls on Tuesday after press time. Then the Lady Bulldogs host their first home game of the season when Ronan visits the Dawg Pound on Thursday at 4:15 p.m.

Whitefish def. Polson 18-25, 25-17, 25-21, 15-25, 15-10

Kills — Whitefish 29 (Smith 21, Jadi Walburn 6); Digs — Whitefish 20 (Ashton Ramsey 13, Walburn 11); Blocks — Whitefish 6 (Ells 3); Assists — Whitefish 23 (Ells 14); Aces — Whitefish 8 (Walburn 3). Polson statistics not available.

Whitefish def Browning 25-20, 25-14, 25-10

Kills — Whitefish 20 (Smith 10); Digs — Whitefish 20 (Ramsey 5, Ells 5); Blocks — Whitefish 2 (Erin Wilde 1, Taylor Means 1); Assists — Whitefish 19 (Ells 11, Jenny Patten 8); Aces — Whitefish 8 (Smith 4, Ramsey 2). Polson statistics not available.