Lady Dogs head to divisionals

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A slow start plagued the Lady Dogs at the Northwest A District Tournament in Browning over the weekend, but the team pulled it together to advance to the Divisional Tournament this week.

Whitefish, seeded second, opened up play on Friday against Columbia Falls.

The Wildkats pulled off the upset in four sets, winning 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 25-21.

Senior captain Cailyn Ross tallied 17 kills and four blocks to lead the team. Becca Catina had 30 of the team’s 40 assists as well.

The team found their groove on Saturday, however, picking up three-set wins against Ronan and Polson to close out the tournament.

Whitefish took down Ronan 25-13, 25-20, 25-9, and defeated Polson 25-17, 25-14, 25-17.

“Friday was a little rough, but we came back on Saturday and took care of business,” head coach Addy Connelly said.

“[Columbia Falls] just had some great blocks and kills and our mental toughness just kind of broke down in that game. We just have to get mentally tougher and use all the different tools we have and be able to make adjustments when necessary in order to move forward.”

The Lady Dogs will open divisional play against Stevensville tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Butte. If they win they’ll play the winner of Libby and Frenchtown at 8 p.m.

Under former head coach Jackie Fuller, the Lady Dogs took down Stevi in August in three sets.

Heading into the divisional tournament, Connelly said the focus is simply on playing Lady Dog volleyball and letting the rest take care of itself.

“These girls have got the skill, they’ve got the talent, and it just came down to mental toughness. So we’ve just got to start the game with our heads in the right place,” she said.

Northwest A District Tournament

Friday

Columbia Falls def. Whitefish, 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 25-21

Whitefish: Kills 42 (Cailyn Ross 17, Marlee Bender 11). Blocks 8 (Ross 4, Bender 3). Digs 59 (Serena Hemmingson 17). Assists 40 (Becca Catina 30). Aces 4 (Hemmingson 3).

Columbia Falls: Kills 42 (Stella Bistodeau 13, Trista Cowan 12). Blocks 13 (Ryley Kehr 6, Kiera 3). Digs 67 (N/A). Assists 34 (Hannah Schweikart 31). Aces 10 (Savvy Ellis 3, Bistodeau 3).

Saturday

Loser Out

Whitefish def. Ronan, 25-13, 25-20, 25-9

Ronan: Kills 18 (McCrea 9). Blocks 3 (McCrea 2). Digs 40 (Ulutoa 9). Assists 4 (Ulutoa 4). Aces 3 (Ulutoa, Conko-Camel, Houle).

Whitefish: Kills 36 (Ross 9). Blocks 7 (Ross 4). Digs 46 (Hemmingson 19). Assists 31 (Schulz 16). Aces 9 (Catina 3, Ross 3).

Whitefish def. Polson, 25-17, 25-14, 25-17

Whitefish: Kills 30 (Ross 8). Blocks 6 (Ross 3, Bender 3). Digs 49 (Schulz 11, Brown 11). Assists 27 (Catina 17). Aces 10 (Catina 7).

Polson: Kills 20 (Smith 7). Blocks 2 (Perez, Ducharne). Digs 55 (Lundeen 14). Assists 18 (Bitterman 15). Aces 7 (Lundeen 3).

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