Lady Eagles take down Ten SleepOct 4, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
The Lady Pioneers of Ten Sleep descended on the Eagles Nest to take on home side St. Stephen's in search of a Class 1-A Northwest success.
However, it was the Lady Eagles who defended their home ground Thursday with a straight-sets defeat of the visitors, 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-18).
St. Stephen's soared from the outset of the match, winning the opening two sets, then continued going to work on the Lady Pioneers in the third stanza.
Lyndsay Harris smashed a kill for an early lead, followed in short order by another from Kalista Groesbeck for a 4-1 advantage. St. Stephen's continued to build the lead, and Alana Moss made it 11-8.
Ten Sleep made a run to stay in the match and briefly took the lead at 14-12, but Angel Redman and Wawa Lawson brought back-to-back kills to regain a lead the Lady Eagles wouldn't relinquish.
Josette Oldman had a kill and a pair of aces to help close out the match.
According to St. Stephen's head coach Rachel Rapp, communication on the floor was critical to her club's victory.
"Nothing is more important than talking out there," said Rapp. "We also covered the floor very well."
Rapp singled out junior Destiny Willow, who is already in her third season on the varsity squad and has been an important contributor to the Eagles' cause.
"Destiny is a fantastic leader," said Rapp. "She's a player you give directions to, and she does it to the best of her ability."
However, there have also been young players who have come into the fold and made her team stronger, as well, she said.
"We have a couple of freshmen in Laura Brown and April Crispin who've done a great job for us this season," said Rapp. "But, our veterans like Josette and Lyndsay have also been consistent with their passing and hitting."
For Rapp, who is in her rookie season as a head coach, it's a bit of a homecoming, as she is a former Lady Wolverine, who graduated from Riverton in 2014 after a high-school career which saw her play volleyball, basketball and soccer for Big Red.
"It's something I've always wanted to do," said Rapp, a University of Wyoming alum who is also a science teacher at St. Stephen's. "It's been fast and furious so far, but I wouldn't trade it for the world."
St. Stephen's (7-11, 1-4 Class 1-A Northwest) will play Friday and Saturday in the Farson-Eden Invitational.
Lady Blue played a pair of Class 2-A Northwest conference contests last week, first with a home match at Wrangler Gym on Friday against Greybull, which they lost, 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-18), then rebounded nicely with a road victory against Lovell on Saturday, 3-1 (16-25, 25-13, 25-17, 25-22).
Despite the home loss, Shoshoni head coach Christina Mills was overjoyed with the effort her squad showed against the Lady Buffs.
"We had a solid weekend even though we didn't pull out a win on Friday," said Mills. "Homecoming week can prove difficult to compete with athletes staying out late and participating in school activities.I was extremely proud of their efforts against Greybull. It was one of our best defensive efforts on the season and could have easily resulted in a win if we would have served more consistently."
On Saturday against the Bulldogs, Mills's charges came through with flying colors on the scoreboard.
"Lovell was a great challenge for our team," she said."We were short-handed and missing Kianna Pierson for the match, but the girls rallied together to win despite being shuffled in different positions and playing with several freshman on the court.I was really impressed with the leadership of my two seniors.This match really highlighted the unity of this team."
Shoshoni (6-11, 2-1 Class 2-A Northwest) will next travel to Rocky Mountain for a match on Friday, before returning home to face Wind River on Saturday.
The Lady Rams of Dubois played only a single match last week, but what a match it was.
Calyn O'Neal had 15 kills in a 3-2 (19-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-6, 15-9) victory against Burlington.
Riley Rux contributed 27 assists, while Aubry Baker and Rhiannon Hawk each had 20 digs, while Amy Grant adding 16 on the day.
The occasion marked the third consecutive five-set match for the Rams and fourth on the current campaign and was eerily similar to a previous match earlier this season, said Dubois head coach Tina Baker.
"It was an exact replay of how we played against Meeteetse two weeks ago - we started out very sluggish with no enthusiasm and then for whatever reason, we turn it on in the fourth set and play like the team I know we can be," she said. "It was a great win and set us up to repeat as conference champions."
Despite missing one of their most important players, understudies came through for her club at a critical point in the season, said Baker.
"We got great help off the bench from Kalen Smith and Lydia Hinkle, who started for Mekayla Chamley, who is out for with season with a medical condition," she said. "We're going to miss Mekayla greatly -- her hitting and blocking was really coming along and when you can have a lefty hitting out of the right side, it just adds a wrinkle most teams don't know how to handle."
Dubois (5-7, 4-2 Class 1-A Northwest) will play at the Farson-Eden Invitational this week, following a match at Wyoming Indian on Thursday.
Baker views the next few days as an important signpost for her team.
"This is a big weekend for us," said Baker. "The Pronghorn Jamboree hosts most of the Class 1-A teams in the state, so we should have a good opportunity to see a lot of teams and see how we stack up."
The Lady Cougars of Wind River endured a rough weekend, with three matches in two days, losing the first two.
On Friday, the Lady Rebels of Riverside prevailed over the Cougars, 3-2 (18-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 15-13), which was followed by a loss to Big Piney on Saturday, 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-15).
The Lady Cougars bounced back in their second contest of the day on Saturday with a 3-0 (26-24, 25-8, 25-23) victory over Kemmerer.
Wind River (5-11, 1-2 Class 2-A Southwest) has a Fremont County doubleheader this week with road matches against Wyoming Indian on Friday and Shoshoni on Saturday.
The Lady Chiefs of Wyoming Indian lost a pair of conference matches last Saturday, falling to Kemmerer, 3-2 (15-25, 25-16, 25-16, 23-25, 19-17) and Big Piney, 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-11).
Wyoming Indian (4-15, 0-2 Class 2-A Southwest) will host Dubois on Thursday, followed by a visit from Wind River on Friday.