State VB

Thurs-Saturday, November 10-12, 2011

Polson bows out on day 2

By DIXIE KNUTSON The Daily Inter Lake

BOZEMAN – There weren’t any smiles when the Polson Lady Pirates left the locker room Friday at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. But after the Pirates have a little time to reflect on the 2011 volleyball season, they’ll remember they left everything on the court.

The Pirates overcame a 5-10 fifth set deficit to defeat Hamilton 21-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-15, 25-15 in the morning loser-out contest on Friday, but didn’t have quite enough gas left in the tank when they faced Billings Central in the afternoon. The Rams defeated Polson 25-20, 22-25, 25-15, 25-15.

Riley Kenney had 15 kills and two blocks, Ashley Johnson added 14 kills and Kenzie Clay had 13 kills and two blocks in the Hamilton match. Shalaina Duford contributed 49 assists, two blocks, 33 digs and served an ace.

Against Billings Central, Johnson had 14 kills and Duford had 34 assists and 21 digs.

“They went out playing as hard as they could. Our defense was outstanding,” said Pirate coach Jan Toth.

“Billings Central had to really work hard to get it past our defense – and that’s all I ever wanted for them … to leave it on the court,” she said.

Defeating Hamilton earlier in the day “took every ounce of emotion they had. Coming from a 5-10 deficit in a fifth game, that took a lot of emotion, a lot of power. So when they had to turn around and play Billings Central who is so tough, so quick … we don’t see that quick of an offense often,” she said.

“But we were able to hang with them,” she added.

The Pirates dropped the first set, but bounced right back to claim the second. They led the third set 11-5 before Billings Central got itself together and got going again. But it regrouped and was down 15-14 when Katie Cummins went back to serve.

She 11 straight points to take a 25-15 third set victory.

That meltdown was particularly painful for Toth to talk about.

“In order to win big games you have to stay ahead. We were unable to do that. We wanted it so bad,” she said.

Central’s offense was fast – three hitters were in double figures, including 6-foot-1 senior Abbie Hanser (19 kills), sophomore Justyn Juhl (15) and senior Danny Kucera (12).

“She’s 6-1,” Toth said of Hanser. “My middle blockers are 5-8 at best. I thought they did a good job of containing her and my backcourt did a good job of being able to read her,” she said.

Toth complimented the Central setter, Katie Cummins.

“She was phenomenal. She made a lot out of nothing. She was able to put that ball up and they just hit away at us. They were relentless,” she said.

The Pirates graduate four – Ashley Johnson, MaCall Banner, Kenzie Clay and Riley Kenney.

“Four girls who have gone through four years and have stuck through a lot. They’re some of my best friends. I’ll miss them. We have big shoes to fill – it’s more than their athleticism. They’re good kids,” Toth said.

“It’s rough. You have a team that’s this close and they all play for each other. It’s hard to let go of that.”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Belgrade def. Polson, 3-2

The Panthers rallied from an 0-2 hole to claim the 19-25, 17-25, 25-20, 27-25, 15-11 opening-round win over the Pirates.

Jorden Porter had 20 kills and four blocks for Belgrade. Tayler Jacobson added 23 assists and four aces.

Kenzie Clay chalked up eight kills and two aces for the Pirates, while Riley Kenney added eight more kills.

Belgrade def. Polson, 19-25, 17-25, 25-20, 27-25, 15-11.

Kills – Belgrade 51 (Jorden Porter 20), Polson 37 (Kenzie Clay 8, Riley Kenney 8). Blocks – Belgrade 9 (Porter 4), Polson 6 (Heidi Rausch 4). Digs – Belgrade 92 (Dylan Fowler 30), Polson 126 (Mackenzie Banner 28). Assists – Belgrade 44 (Tayler Jacobson 23), Polson 32 (Shalaina Duford 28). Aces – Belgrade 5 (Jacobson 4), Polson 5 (Clay 2).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Polson def. Hamilton, 3-2

Shalaina Duford registered 33 digs and handed out 49 assists in the Pirates’ 21-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-15, 15-12 loser-out win over the Broncs.

Riley Kenney had 15 kills, Ashley Johnson had 14 and Kenzie Clay added 13 more for the Pirates. Mackenzie Banner and Macall Banner combined for 49 digs.

Rebecka Hood had 17 kills and 27 digs for the Broncs, who ended their season at 16-5. Mary Conwell added 37 assists and nine kills.

Polson def. Hamilton, 21-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-15, 15-12.

Kills – Polson 61 (Riley Kenney 15), Hamilton 50 (Rebecka Hood 17). Blocks – Polson 9 (Heidi Rausch 3), Hamilton 6 (Nichole Hood 4, Rhayn Ransier 4). Digs – Polson 135 (Shalaina Duford 33), Hamilton 104 (R. Hood 27). Assists – Polson 53 (Duford 49), Hamilton 48 (Mary Conwell 37). Aces – Polson 3 (three with one), Hamilton 7 (Colleen McGibben 2, Conwell 2).

Billings Central def. Polson, 3-1

Abbie Hanser had 19 kills and three blocks as the Rams eliminated the Pirates, 25-20, 22-25, 25-15, 25-15.

Justyn Juhl came up with 32 digs and Katie Cummins added 49 assists and three aces for the Rams.

Ashley Johnson slammed 14 kills and Shalaina Duford added 21 digs and 34 assists for the Pirates, who closed their campaign at 15-4.

Billings Central def. Polson, 25-20, 22-25, 25-15, 25-15.

Kills – BC 58 (Abbie Hanser 19), Polson 41 (Ashley Johnson 14). Blocks – BC 6 (Hanser 3), Polson 4. Digs – BC 145 (Justyn Juhl 32), Polson 96 (Shalaina Duford 21). Assists – BC 54 (Katie Cummins 49), Polson 41 (Duford 34). Aces – BC 7 (Cummins 3), Polson 4.

Two Lady Pirate volleyball players named to all-state team


Regular season and Northwestern A divisional champion Polson placed two players on the Class A All-State volleyball team, while Whitefish and Libby both had one selection.

Named from Polson are senior Riley Kenney and junior Shalaina Duford.

Abby Strellnauer was Whitefish’s all-state selection. Selinna Maefau was Libby’s all-state pick. Strellnauer and Maefau are both seniors.

Those four players also made the all-conference first team along with Shaun Rowe, a senior from Columbia Falls, and Marlow Schulz, a sophomore from Whitefish.

Second-team all-conference selections were: Josie Anderson, sophomore, Frenchtown; Kenzie Clay, senior, Polson; Lauren Wepprecht, junior, Libby; Emily Sullivan, freshman, Whitefish; Gabrielle Stenger, senior, Columbia Falls; and Taylor Peterson, junior, Columbia Falls.

Honorable mention all-conference selections were: Kelsey McFadden, junior, Whitefish; Heidi Rausch, junior, Polson; Ashley Johnson, senior, Polson; and MacKenzie Banner, junior, Polson.