Granite thwarts Charlo comeback in VB home opener
PHILIPSBURG – If Thursday’s season opening volleyball match between visiting Charlo and host Granite was any indicator, the Lady Prospectors could be in for one heck of a rollercoaster ride in 2023.
The locals outlasted the visiting Lady Vikings in four sets 28-26, 25-18, 18, 25, 31-29. Granite moves to 1-0 on the season while Charlo falls to 0-1.
While the Lady Prospectors took early control, it was anything but easy. Trailing most of the first set, they managed to knot the match at 24-24 and forced to 26-all before scoring the final two points and earning a 1-0 match lead.
Set 2 saw the two squads stay close early before Granite pulled away to earn a 25-18 victory and a 2-0 margin.
But the wheels came dangerously close to falling off in set three, with the Lady Prospectors losing sync with each other and allowing the Lady Vikings to claim a 25-18 win of their own.
“I think our big issue when we do that is communication,” said Granite Head Coach Kaley Hansen. “But ultimately they (Lady Prospectors) put the cart before the horse. … Its like, ‘It’s easy. We’re gonna beat ‘em.’” Hansen also noted that some team members lost their focus, paying more attention to crown members and friends than the match during the third set.
But whatever ills exhibited themselves in that set, the Lady Prospectors shook them off to earn a 19-14 lead late in set four. It was then that Charlo’s Maizey McDonald went on a service that run that brought the Lady Vikings back into the match and an eventual 23-23 tie.
From there neither team could shake the other with Charlo fighting for its life and Granite battling to end the match. They worked as far as 29-29 before the Lady Prospectors put together three straight scores to win the set and the match.
Junior setter Ella Tallon had a hand in every stat category Thursday night, collecting a team-high 16 assists to go along with two kills, four aces, a shared block and four digs. And when her teammates struggled in that third set, she took to coaching them on the floor to avoid the use of a timeout.
Tallon was named the Kiko’s Mexican Restaurant Player of the Game for her efforts.
Montannah Piar led Granite in kills with seven, while Ramsey Smith added six and a pair of key blocks. Addy Lilyquist had five kills to go along with her team-best 14 digs.
Granite and Charlo will get Friday off before playing in the 14-team Drummond Invitational Saturday. Games will tip off in both the old and new gymnasium starting at 8 a.m.
CHARLO – 26/18/25/29 – 1
GRANITE – 25/25/18/31 – 3
Kills – Piar 7, Smith 6, Lilyquist 5, Tallon 2, Spehar 1
Blocks – Lilyquist 4.5, Smith 2, Benson .5, Tallon .5, Piar .5
Assists – Benson 1, Tallon 16
Digs – Smith 12, Benson 10, Flores 7, Spehar 5, Tallon 4, Piar 13, Lilyquist 14
Aces – Smith 2, Benson 2, Flores 1, Tallon 4, Piar 3, Lilyquist 3
Charlo def. Granite, 25-21, 25-23, 16-14
The visitors may have earned a sweep, but it was hard-fought by the Lady Prospector JV squad.
Mia Sowders had a pair of kills and Makenzy Courtney had three aces.