Volleyball teams get seasons rolling: Bulldogs 2-4, Bearcats 3-4 following tough tournament action in Wyoming
     2013-09-12      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Philip Eckerberg/for the Citizen Freshman Jocyeln Nuss (No. 24) bumps a pass while libero Jade Melroy (No. 35) and hitter Mariah Conn (No. 14) and Courtney Conn (No. 8) prep for a hit against the Bearcats during Saturday’s freshman triangular against Scottsbluff and Alliance at Scottsbluff. Gering lost in four sets against Alliance, and swept Scottsbluff in three sets. 
Volleyball season began in earnest last Thursday, with most county-area teams opening play with dual or triangular action.
After Scottsbluff scored a year-opening, four-set victory Thursday night at home over Alliance, the Bearcats and Gering Bulldogs headed northwest to play in the season-kickoff Campbell County Camel Tournament at Gillette, Wyo.

Both teams finished pool play Friday with 1-2 records and found themselves matched against each other in the consolation semifinals after they both lost their first matches Saturday morning.
After Scottsbluff won the first game 25-20, Gering tied the match with a 25-15 second-set win and took the match with a 25-18 victory in the deciding game.

The Bulldogs had several solid performances against the Bearcats. Allie Boggs finished with 10 assists, five kills, five digs, three solo blocks and one ace serve, while Katie O’Boyle had five kills and five solo blocks.

Also for Gering, Kaylee Spreier had seven kills, five digs and three blocks, while Savannah Walker made nine kills and six digs, and Kelsea Prieels tallied 15 assists, four digs and two ace serves.
For Scottsbluff, Makayla Castro made 10 kills and six digs, while Kyra Willats scored four digs, two kills, two ace serves and nine assists. Chesney Walker had six digs, four kills, and 10 assists; Amy Colburn had five digs and two ace serves; Wentz tallied four digs and two kills; and Savannah Menghini had 10 digs.

Gering coach Craig Schadwinkel said the tournament provided the type of competition the Bulldogs (2-4) need in order to prepare for their season-long quest of making the Class B State Tournament under a new expanded format.

Class B teams will be divided into eight districts, with the winners advancing to a 16-team sub-state competition. The eight best wild-card teams will then face the district champions in the sub-state round to decide the eight state tournament teams for action in Grand Island.

“We’re trying to run a lot faster offense and then we’re running a lot different defense than we’ve ever run before,” Schadwinkel said. “We just feel, with this new district plan to qualify for state, we can’t run a slow offense anymore. We’re going to have to step up and play the brand of volleyball that they’re playing back in the eastern end of the state. Right now it’s a work in progress
“It’s going to be incredibly tough to make it down there,” Schadwinkel said of making state. “I know a lot of the programs back east, as well as we played of them this summer, that the style of play we’ve played the past couple years is just not going to get us there.”

In the Camel Tournament, Gering opened pool play with a 25-22, 23-25, 25-11 victory over Sundance, Wyo. In their next two matches, the Bulldogs dropped a 25-22, 25-10 decision to Casper Kelly Walsh and fell 25-14, 12-25, 25-21 to Billings (Mont.) West.

Gering opened Saturday’s bracket play with a three-game loss to Rapid City (S.D.) Central before taking the three-set win over Scottsbluff. The Bulldogs finished sixth in their bracket after taking a 25-19, 25-9 loss to Wright, Wyo.

Against Sundance, Spreier powered Gering to victory with 10 kills, seven blocks and seven aces. Walker added seven kills along with 12 digs, two block, and three aces. Prieels made 15 set assists and also had three aces and eight digs.

Also for the Bulldogs, Boggs had 16 assists along with three kills, two digs and two blocks. Jade Riedel led Gering defensively with 15 digs. Brooke Vowers added 10 digs. O’Boyle had four kills, three blocks and three aces, while Kaila Borgman had four kills.

Scottsbluff swept Wheatland, Wyo., 25-19, 25-22 in its first pool-play match of the tournament. The Bearcats, however, were dealt a 25-21, 25-16 loss to host Campbell County and a 25-21, 25-19 setback to Rapid City (S.D.) Stevens.

Scottsbluff opened Saturday’s action with a 25-14, 22-25, 25-22 loss to Billings, Mont. The Bearcats rebounded from their defeat to Gering to take a 25-18, 25-20 victory over Rock Springs, Wyo., for seventh place in their bracket.

In their Friday win over Wheatland, the Bearcats were led by Castro with eight kills and 11 service points with five aces. Willats made 12 assists and Walker had 11 assists.

Against Rock Springs, Castro scored eight kills, eight digs, and three blocks, while Walker had five points, four kills, five digs, and six assists, and Willats had three kills, four digs and seven assists.

Also for the Bearcats, SteaVen Becker finished with three kills and four points, Colburn had four points and three digs, Kelly Wentz put down four kills, Aly Camacho had two kills and three blocks, Menghini had four points and five digs, and Shalee Roseberry scored six points, including two aces.

Schadwinkel said the Bulldogs’ season-opening performance came with the usual mix of positives and needs for improvement.

“I saw some real brilliant things that I really think we can build on, and then I saw some old habits pop up that we really want to get rid of,” he said. “The kids were excited about the weekend and the competition level was incredibly tough, and those are the kind of people you want to face to get better.

“This team has some power to it, and I think offensively if we get things going that we can play with about anybody. We’re going to have to improve our serve receiving as well as our ball control on the defensive end of things so we can run this kind of offense.”

Gering opens dual play Thursday at Chadron and then Saturday plays in the Bulldog Triangular against North Platte and Alliance, this year at Alliance. GHS then has its home opener against Scottsbluff on Tuesday, with varsity action scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.
The Bearcats began their season at home Thursday night with a four-set victory over Alliance, 25-22, 14-25, 27-25, 25-19.

Castro finished with a triple-double of 13 kills, 10 digs and 12 service points. Wentz followed with nine kills, Camacho added five kills and Walker made four kills.

The Bearcats finished their first three days of action with a 3-4 record.

After playing Tuesday night at Cheyenne East, Scottsbluff will play at home Thursday against Cheyenne Central, with the varsity match scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. The Bearcats will be off until they play at Gering on Tuesday night.

In other action, a Western Trails conference match opened the seasons for Bayard and Morrill on Thursday, with Bayard victorious in three tight sets over the host Lions, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21.

Bayard opened its home schedule Tuesday against Gordon-Rushville and will play host to a Thursday triangular that includes Sioux County and Banner County. The Tigers then visit Mitchell on Tuesday.

Morrill, which opens with six straight home matches, continued play with a triangular Tuesday against Crawford and Yoder-Southeast. The Lions then have Leyton visit on Thursday and Crawford back on Friday.

Mitchell won its season-opening match at Hemingford in a sweep on Thursday, 25-19, 25-17, 25-10. The Tigers played at Sidney on Tuesday night and have Potter-Dix and Kimball visiting for Mitchell’s home-opening triangular on Thursday. Mitchell then plays in the Gordon-Rushville Invitational on Saturday.

Banner County got off to a winning start Thursday by downing Minatare in the Indians’ triangular, 25-12, 23-25, 15-11. The Wildcats and Minatare, however, were swept by Creek Valley in the other two matches.

Banner County hosted Hemingford and Hay Springs in a Tuesday triangular and plays Sioux County at home Friday before playing in the Bayard Triangular on Saturday.

After Minatare’s losses to Banner County and Creek Valley, the Indians (0-3) lost Friday at Wauneta-Palisade in three games.

Minatare had Potter-Dix at home Tuesday and travels to Oshkosh on Thursday to play Garden County. The Indians then play Sioux County at Minatare on Tuesday.

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