YODER – On Senior Night for the Southeast Cyclones, it was only fitting a senior would cap off the night for the Lady Cyclones volleyball team.
Southeast’s Morgan Ekwall served up an ace to cap off a 3-1 (26-24, 26-28, 25-20, 25-14) victory over cross-county rival Lingle-Fort Laramie.
“Both of our seniors led this team all season,” Southeast coach Roxanne Jolovich said. “I’m so impressed with how our girls have improved. We’ve never settled. We never stopped. We’ve continued improving the entire season.”
Through the entire first set, neither team held a lead larger than five.
In the early going, an ace by sophomore Jordan Stoddard put the Lady Cyclones in front 4-2, but Lingle-Fort Laramie battled back to take a 13-8 lead.
The Lady Dogger lead came in the midst of a 6-1 spurt, was highlighted by a L-FL block from senior Ashely Riley and an ace from Lady Dogger senior Kalli Nichol.
Southeast battled back to tie the match at 16 with another Stoddard ace, but it wasn’t until 25-24 when the Lady Cyclones took the lead for good.
“We’ve worked on that all season long, getting down and coming back from that,” Jolovich said. “We are getting better and better at that. You can’t give up, and we didn’t tonight. Point after point, we kept coming right back at them. We shook off our mistakes and kept pushing.”
In the second set, the Lady Doggers jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind a pair of attack errors from Southeast and a kill from sophomore Tiah Meyer.
It was the largest lead by either team until back-to-back service aces from Southeast senior Kendall Haas gave the Lady Cyclones a 20-16 lead, forcing L-FL to call a timeout.
“I don’t think we hit the ball like we should have. The setters got the sets there. I thought we dug some balls, but that Stoddard girl is going to go over our block,” Clark said. “I saw some good things, and I saw some things that really frustrated me. At this point in the season, we can’t be making the mental mistakes that we did.”
The Lady Doggers tied the match at 26 before two consecutive errors by Southeast tied the match at one apiece.
In the third, Southeast raced out to a 5-1 advantage before Lingle chipped away at the deficit, eventually taking a 14-12 lead.
The lead was short-lived as the Lady Cyclones countered with a 9-1 run to take a commanding 21-15 lead.
“I don’t know why we can’t finish,” L-FL coach Barb Clark said. “This has always been a big rivalry. They get in our heads. Then we get scared and make mistakes. We have to somehow be confident in what we do.”
In the fourth set, Lingle looked to force a fifth set, taking a 4-1 lead, but it was quickly erased.
Southeast freshman Sydney Anderson tied the set at five and Southeast took its first lead on the ensuing point.
It was a lead the Lady Cyclones would hold onto for the remainder of the match.
“I told them, it doesn’t matter if we beat Southeast,” Clark said. “We have to go up and beat Upton, Hulett, Kaycee or Hanna-Elk Mountain. That’s what matters. This was a good practice. I changed the defense and our setters are right behind the block. There was a little transition that was off, but it was a good game to practice that. They are a tough team.”
Both teams went on to play one more match to close out the regular season.
On Friday, the Lady Cyclones traveled to Glenrock with a No. 2 seed in the Class 2A East Regional Tournament on the line.
The Lady Herders pulled out a 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 25-22) victory over Southeast.
In the loss, Anderson led the Lady Cyclones with 10 kills, while Stoddard added five. Sophomore Grace Desmond and Stoddard recorded three blocks each, while Ekwall tallied 35 digs.
The Lady Cyclones will open Regionals as the No. 3 seed and will face No. 2 Sundance at 11 a.m. in Moorcroft on Friday, Nov. 1.
On Saturday, the Lady Doggers closed out the regular season with a 3-0 (25-19, 27-25, 26-24) sweep of the Niobrara County Lady Tigers.
The win had no bearing on seeding for the 1A East Regional Tournament as the Lady Doggers had the No. 3 seed locked in prior to Saturday’s match.
L-FL will face Upton at 10:30 a.m. in Wheatland on Friday, Nov. 1.