For two sets Thursday night Belgrade gave Class AA’s third-ranked team all it could handle. But Great Falls CMR, led by Allie Olsen, proved to be too much.
Olsen, a 6-foot-3 middle hitter, tallied 20 of her team’s 32 kills to lead the Rustlers to a 25-18, 25-20, 25-5 Eastern AA victory.
“The first two sets we played really well. Way improved from when we played CMR at home (Sept. 17),” Belgrade coach Jessica Christensen said. “We serve-received well all night. We blocked well the first two sets and we hit well in the first two sets.”
After winning the first set, CMR (14-1, 7-0) found itself going point for point with the Panthers in Game 2. But the Rustlers scored the final five points of the set to claim victory.
“We worked really hard. Balls weren’t hitting the ground and we had long rallies. Some of those we didn’t win,” said Christensen. “I think it was tied at 20 in the second set, so we were right in it.”
But, nothing went right in the third set. Belgrade committed 11 hitting errors and trailed 17-0 before scoring its first point.
“It’s hard to end with that being how we ended the game,” said Christensen. “But I was really happy with the first two sets.”
While Olsen, who also had four blocks, controlled the action at the net, Christensen was pleased with the effort of senior Tessa Lamb.
“Tessa blocked really well,” she said. “She didn’t have a whole lot of blocks, but she really had a lot of touches on their big middle and slowed the ball down a lot.”
Belgrade (2-12, 1-7) was led offensively by senior outside hitter Hazel Eaton and middle hitter Maddie Tomasetti, who each had six kills. Eaton also had nine digs.
Christensen noted that the undersized Tomasetti held her own against Olsen.
“She played well tonight, especially with the big block in the middle. It’s tough for our middles to get around that,” Christensen said. “She is good. We did a way better job with her than we did at home.”
Tycelee Bowler led the Panthers, who have a week off before competing at a two-day tournament in Missoula Oct. 18, with 14 digs.
“All of our passers were good tonight,” said Christensen. “That’s one of the best serve-receive games I think we’ve had, and statewide were are one of the best serve-receive teams. When we played CMR at home we did not serve-receive well at all. So everyone did their job tonight in serve-receive.”
Great Falls CMR def. Belgrade 25-18, 25-20, 25-5.
BELGRADE (2-12) - Kills: 22 (Hazel Eaton 6, Maddie Tomasetti 6). Digs: n/a (Tyclee Bowler 14, Eaton 9). Blocks: 4 (4 with 1). Aces: 4 (Arin Eaton 2). Assists: 20 (Delanee Hicks 19).
GREAT FALLS CMR (14-1) - Kills: 32 (Allie Olsen 20). Digs: 56 (Lauren Lindseth 20). Blocks: 5 (Olsen 4). Aces: 6 (Norah allen 2). Assists: 30 (Tenni Hiller 23).