Monday, May 27, 2024

Whitefish volleyball drops two matches at State A

by BRANDON HANSEN For the Pilot
| November 15, 2023 12:00 AM

Whitefish’s incredible 2023 season came to an end last weekend at the Class A state tournament as the Lady Bulldogs dropped two games.

“I'm very proud of these young ladies,” Whitefish Head Coach Abby Connelly said. “They started out our season with two losses and then really turned it around. There were times that, as a team, we were down, but these girls were gritty. They found a way throughout our season to come back and take care of business. That speaks volumes about their character.”

In their opener on Thursday, Nov. 9, Whitefish battled back from two sets down, but Billings Central ultimately prevailed 25-13, 25-11, 23-25, 23-25, 15-11. Whitefish had 35 kills in the battle, Brooke Zetooney had 14 kills, and Bailey Smith added 10.

Ainsley Scott had 18 of Whitefish’s 31 assists, and Kaydence Blackwell had 13. Blackwell excelled on defense, notching 15 digs, while Myli Ridgeway had 14 and Scott collected 10.

At the net, Zetooney had three blocks, as did Smith. Blackwell and Ridgeway each had two aces.

Whitefish then moved into a loser-out contest on Friday, Nov. 10, where Glendive prevailed 25-23, 25-21, 26-24.

Zetooney led the Lady Bulldogs in kills with 12 while Ridgeway had 10. Scott led the team in assists again with 17, while Blackwell had 13.

Smith was the leading defender with 16 digs, and Ridgeway had 14 digs and four blocks. Zetooney had three blocks.

“Making it to state was a huge goal for these ladies,” Connelly said. “They worked so hard in the off-season and were laser-focused on their goal.  It was a huge accomplishment to make it to state as it has been a few years since Whitefish has made it that far.”

Whitefish finished the season 25-11, improving on a 13-14 campaign in 2022.

Whitefish graduates five seniors and will keep five impact players. Ridgeway, libero Maggie Mercer, Blackwell, Izzy Hartwig, and Yoli Krastev will all return after this year’s state campaign.

“Although we didn't finish our season how we would have liked, these girls are already hungry for a repeat state appearance,” Connelly said. “The next year is going to be exciting.”