LINGLE – The Lingle-Fort Laramie High School volleyball team saw its four-match winning streak snapped Tuesday evening against Class 2A Pine Bluffs in Lingle.
The Lady Doggers struggled with the size and length of the visiting Hornet squad, baffling not only players but the coaches as well in a 3-1 (25-13, 25-17, 18-25, 25-13) loss.
“They are so big. You call a timeout and say, okay, we are going to move our block in,” coach Barb Clark. “They read that. We just aren’t big enough to put up a block and slow them down.”
In the early going, Lingle managed to match Pine Bluffs through the early stages of the opening set before a 5-0 Hornet run pushed their lead to 10-5.
For the remainder of the set, the Lady Doggers got no closer than three.
“We then just make little mental mistakes,” Clark said. “Free balls that we’d put out of bounds or stupid things like that. When the simple things don’t fall your way, you are fighting an uphill battle.”
In the second set, it was much the same.
L-FL senior Audrey Perry served up an ace to tie the match at eight, while senior Ashley Riley gave the Lady Doggers a 9-8 advantage.
Perry backed it up with two more aces, but Pine Bluffs quickly shifted the momentum back in its favor with a 9-2 run to propel them to a second set victory.
In the third set, Pine Bluffs grabbed an early 5-2 lead, but a service error and a kill from L-FL senior Kalli Nichol gave the Lady Doggers an 8-6 advantage.
Errors then started to mount for the Lady Hornets.
A pair of attack errors and Pine Bluffs ending up in the net gave Lingle a five-point lead. Perry followed it up with two aces as the Lady Doggers held a 17-10 advantage en route to the set win, keeping their upset hopes alive.
“Instead of running a 5-1, we decided put Baylee (Skinner) in the back and run a 6-2 and gives us three hitters when Jessy (White) is in the front row. It’s freeing Jessy up so she doesn’t have to get to every ball,” Clark said. “Baylee, for a freshman, is calm. She is helping us.”
In the fourth set, it was all Pine Bluffs.
The Lady Hornets jumped out to a 5-1 lead and cruised to a 12-point set win.
Despite the loss, the Lady Doggers moved up into a possible two seed for the quickly approaching 1A East Regional Tournament.
“We moved up to second in this week’s rankings behind Hanna. We are now one point past Rock River,” Clark said. “I would like to go to Regionals in second. Rock River is over there winning games. We can’t go in resting on our laurels. The last four games are definitely winnable.”
The Lady Doggers travel to Guernsey on Friday, Oct. 18 for a 5 p.m. match.