Volleyball season now in full swing
The first week of high school volleyball saw Stillwater County teams at tournaments across the central part of the state, previewing their skills before conference play commences.
The Columbus Cougars competed at a home tournament, getting an early look at conference and division competitors.
The team had a great opening weekend, according to Coach Lindsey Johnson, accomplishing two feats that hadn’t occurred in years – finishing in the top five teams at the tournament with a win in Gold Bracket play, and beating Red Lodge in a best of three match. Johnson mentioned that none of the Lady Cougars have ever beaten Red Lodge in a varsity game.
Throughout the tournament Johnson felt the team worked well and remained positive. Blocking was another strong point of the day.
The team is always looking to improve, and Johnson mentioned consistent passing and defense as focus areas.
Experience is not an issue for Columbus, as the team had no seniors last year. This year the varsity team has six seniors, and Johnson said they have already stepped up and led the younger players well.
Johnson’s goals for the season include enjoying time together on and off the court, and keeping a positive outlook on things. She believes the girls are determined to improve and work on skills to compete at a high level.
The Cougars begin conference play on Thursday, Aug. 31, at home against Shepherd. The C-Squad game begins at 4:15, so varsity will play about 7 p.m.
The Panthers were also at the Columbus Invitational last weekend.
Coach Kate Cristaldi said the team started out a bit rocky, due to nerves, but it improved as the day progressed.
There are few returning starters, so as experience builds, those nerves should calm.
Park City saw several conference teams, and Cristaldi said the team came away with a better idea of what skills to focus on before conference play begins.
The Panthers face Bridger at home on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in their first conference game of the season.
The Huskies played well in the Broadview-Lavina Tournament.
The team walked away with three wins in pool play, as well as a win over Broadview-Lavina and loss to Huntley JV in bracket play.
Absarokee faces Belfry at home in a non-conference game on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
RPR played in the Belt Tournament on Saturday.
The Renegades got a couple of wins and split decisions in pool play, and they beat Belt JV in bracket play.
This Thursday is RPR’s next game. It is a non-conference matchup at home (in Rapelje) against Broadview-Lavina at 6:30 p.m.