Belgrade’s volleyball team debuted a new uniform Tuesday night along with a new resolve in a gritty performance.
The Panthers put together their best match of the season with a stout defensive effort to hold off Great Falls 25-23, 19-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-9. It’s the first Eastern AA victory of the season for Belgrade, which also snapped a seven-match losing streak.
“I thought they played with a lot of energy the entire game,” Panthers coach Jessica Christensen said. “Even though they were down at times they brought energy. They were super excited.”
Belgrade (2-11, 1-6) never trailed in the fifth set and pulled away midway through the frame after a Tessa Lamb kill sparked a 7-2 run for a 13-6 lead.
The Panthers blew an 18-12 lead in the first set before hanging on for victory, pulled away late in the third set, and then bounced back from some struggles in the fourth to win the match.
“We had a little serve-receive lapse there,” Christensen noted of the fourth set. “But beyond that we passed really well in serve-receive.”
Hazel Eaton tallied a match-high 19 kills to lead the offense. The senior outside hitter also had 22 digs and a block.
“She played amazing all the way around,” said Christensen. “She swung well. She dug everything.”
Christensen also praised the effort of right side hitter Brytan Rogers and defensive specialists Tycelee Bowler and Olivia Wegner. Rogers had 12 kills, while Bowler finished with 21 digs and Wegner had 10.
“Tycelee Bowler was amazing. She covered tons of blocks for us,” said Christensen. “Olivia dug well (too).”
The victory gives the Panthers a boost of confidence heading into another conference match Thursday at third-ranked Great Falls CMR.
“It definitely builds some confidence for us,” said Christensen. “Honestly, at this point, nothing that happens before the postseason is really going to matter right now. Likely going to have to play in a play-off game to make it to the state tournament, so it’s a good time for us to get a win.”
Belgrade def. Great Falls 25-23, 19-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-9.
Great Falls (5-9) - Stats not provided.
BELGRADE (2-11) - Kills: 56 (Hazel Eaton 19, Brytan Rogers 12). Digs: 85 (Eaton 22, Tycelee Bowler 21). Blocks: 9 (Rogers 3). Aces: 4 (Bowler 2). Assists: 50 (Delanee Hicks 46).