Aug 28, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorShoshoni High School had a perfect start to the 2012 volleyball season Friday and Saturday at the North Big Horn Invitational, winning the championship in Lovell.
The Lady Blue steamrolled to the title of the two-day tournament without losing a game. In the title match, SHS swept the Lovell Bulldogs 25-18, 25-18. In the past couple of years, the Bulldogs have been one of the top teams in the Class 2-A West division.
"We played well in our season opener," SHS coach Christina Mills said.
"The girls know that we have a lot more to work on, but it was a great start to our season."
The victory by SHS shouldn't be a surprise. The Lady Blue entered the season with a number of returning starters back from a year ago, when they qualified for the Class 2-A state tournament.
"The girls played great as a team," Mills said.
"They are really starting to trust each other on the court."
Playing for the Lady Blue in Lovell were KayLee Fegler, Shaide Pingetzer, Kolbi Pickingpaugh, Kelly McAuslan, Annika Dechert, Erika Eckley, Sarah Thompson and Natalee Goff.
"We need to continue to work on our defense and keeping our passing on target," Mills said.
The Lady Blue return to the court Thursday night in a non-conference game vs. Burlington. The Lady Huskies are in the Class 1-A division.
"Anytime you play Burlington, you have to be prepared," Mills said.
"We played them over the weekend, and I know that they will take a lot from that game to prepare for Thursday."
Shoshoni's first home match of the season is slated for Thursday, Sept. 6, vs. Wind River. The contest will start the league campaign for SHS. The Lady Cougars began the year last weekend at the McDonald's Invitational in Riverton.
WRHS faced some Class 4-A and 3-A teams in the first two days of the regular season.
In the title match, the Lady Blue used a strong serving attack to sweep the Bulldogs. SHS had 10 aces in the championship match. Goff led the way with three aces. Goff also is an outside hitter for the Lady Blue. Goff has started the last couple of years for Mills.
"The toughest match was with Lovell," Mills said.
"They have some good middle hitters as well, and they play solid defense."
Fegler had a team-high 21 assists.
Thompson, Pingetzer and Pickingpaugh all had one block. Fegler and Dechert each had 10 digs. "The championship match gave us a good gauge of where we are as a team and where we need to be at to reach our goals ," Mills said.
SHS rolled past Burlington 25-8, 25-9 to set the stage for the title match vs. Lovell.
"We need to continue to improve our defense as well as our blocking at the net," Mills said. The other wins by the Lady Blue were over Ten Sleep (25-7, 25-10), Rocky Mountain (25-14, 25-10), Lovell (25-10, 25-9) and Greybull (25-21, 25-18).
The match vs. Greybull started off the tournament for SHS and turned out to be the closest one of the day.
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