Lady Dogs earn second at tourney ahead of divisional

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  • Whitefish senior Marlee Bender gets a kill early in the first set of the Lady Bulldogs’ match against the Loggers on Saturday, Oct. 27 in Libby. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News)

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    The Lady Bulldogs pose with their 2nd place trophy after their championship match against Libby Saturday, Oct. 27. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News)

  • Whitefish senior Marlee Bender gets a kill early in the first set of the Lady Bulldogs’ match against the Loggers on Saturday, Oct. 27 in Libby. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News)

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    The Lady Bulldogs pose with their 2nd place trophy after their championship match against Libby Saturday, Oct. 27. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News)

The Lady Dogs came up short against Libby in the Northwest A district tournament on Saturday, but it was still enough to keep their season alive for the divisional tournament this week.

Whitefish fell in sets of 25-15, 25-11 and 25-17 to the Lady Loggers, who have bested them in every matchup this year.

However, head coach Addy Connelly said she’s still happy with what she saw from her team in the tournament.

“We came out higher than we went in, so that’s a good day. I saw some great things, some good improvements mentally for us as we moved forward. We finally got Columbia Falls, which was a huge win for us, and then we played a little bit better against Libby,” she said.

Leading into the final, Whitefish notched a dominating three-set win over Browning and squeaked out a five-set win over the rival Columbia Falls Wildkats.

Marlee Bender had a huge game at the net against the Wildkats, with 26 kills and three blocks.

Kaiah Moore was next in line with 18 kills.

Connelly said she saw her girls play more as a team than a collection of individuals in the Columbia Falls match, and that’s what made the difference.

“I just thought it was our cohesive unit out there, all the girls were playing together as opposed to as individuals. There was great communication happening,” she said. “Our passing was so much better and our serving had very few errors, which is always great to get our game going in the right direction. We took care of the ball when it was on our side — we controlled those controllables.”

This week the Lady Dogs will host and compete in the Western A Divisional Tournament at Whitefish High School.

They’ll open play against Dillon, a team they’ve seen and beaten twice.

That game will start at 2 p.m. on Thursday at the high school gym.

Northwest A district tournament

Libby

First Round

Whitefish def. Browning 25-10, 25-17, 25-6

Whitefish — Aces 10 (Kaiah Moore 4); Kills 33 (Marlee Bender 8, Moore 7); Assists 24 (Lauren Schulz 21); Blocks 2 (Luci Ridgeway 1, Bender 1); Digs 36 (Jasmine Matern 10, Moore 9).

Second Round

Whitefish def. Columbia Falls 25-18, 19-25, 27-25, 19-25, 15-11

Whitefish — Aces 6, (Matern 3); Kills 63 (Bender 26, Moore 18); Assists 52 (Schulz 49); Blocks 5 (Bender 3); Digs 97 (Matern 24, Moore 18).

Championship Round

Libby def. Whitefish 25-15, 25-11, 25-17

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