Lady Dogs nab third before heading to state tourney

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It’s state tournament time for the Lady Bulldogs after a solid performance at the Western A Divisional Tournament last weekend.

The Lady Dogs took third overall at the tournament, behind Corvallis and Libby. Stevensville took the fourth and final state-qualifying spot in the tournament.

Whitefish opened play on Thursday with a win over Stevi 3-2 before falling to Libby 3-1 later that night. They got back at it with wins against Hamilton (3-1) and Stevi (3-0) on Friday, but Corvallis came out on top 3-1 in their final match on Saturday.

Head coach Addy Connelly said she was glad to see her team go into the tournament and accomplish their goal of getting to state.

It was the loss to Libby on Thursday, however, that showed what they need to improve upon if they plan to make it deep into the tournament.

“The girls played really well against them, just had a few unforced errors on our part,” Connelly said. “So that’s kind of our focus this week, making sure we’re being tough on our side of the net and taking care of the ball.”

“We need to clean our focus up and the intensity we bring to the game. As far as the skill base goes, I’m extremely confident in the girls’ abilities. It’s just that mental toughness — It’s OK to make an error, as long as we’re going 100 percent,” she said.

Whitefish opens play in the state tournament against Belgrade on Thursday. That will be at 2 p.m. at the Montana State University fieldhouse in Bozeman.

The last time Whitefish saw Belgrade was during the Blockbuster tournament in Butte last month. Belgrade won that matchup in three sets.

“We did not have a very good tournament down there, lots of ups and downs so we struggled a little bit with them,” Connelly said. “Watching them, I think if we’re ready to go and in the right place mentally we should be able to take care of business.”

Thursday

Whitefish def. Stevensville 25-19, 24-26, 21-25, 25-16, 16-14

Whitefish: Kills 55 (Cailyn Ross 26, Lauren Schulz 9). Blocks 9 (Marlee Bender 4, Ross 3). Digs 86 (Schulz 18, Jasmine Matern 17). Assists 53 (Becca Catina 35, Shultz 16). Aces 8 (Ross 5).

Libby def. Whitefish 25-21, 25-14, 14-25, 25-18

Whitefish: Kills 45 (Cailyn Ross 22, Kennedy grove 7). Blocks 2 (Ross 1, Marlee Bender 1). Digs 75 (Grove 17, Lauren Schulz 11). Assists 39 (Becca Catina 24, Schulz 11). Aces 6 (Jasmine Matern 2, Catina 2).

Friday

Whitefish def. Stevensville 29-27, 25-15, 17-25, 27-25

Whitefish: Kills 55 (Cailyn Ross 35, Marlee Bender 10). Blocks 3 (Ross 2, Bender 1). Digs 93 (Becca Catina 20, Kennedy Grove 17). Assists 52 (Catina 33, Lauren Schulz 15). Aces 7 (Annisa Brown 3, Grove 2).

Whitefish def. Hamilton 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-17

Whitefish: Kills 59 (Cailyn Ross 29, Lauren Schulz 9). Blocks 5 (Marlee Bender 3, Ross 1, Annisa Brown 1). Digs 112 (Jasmine Matern 26, Kennedy Grove 18). Assists 55 (Becca Catina 34, Schulz 18). Aces 6 (Catina 4).

Saturday

Corvallis def. Whitefish, 25-22, 25-17, 25-18

Whitefish: Kills 28 (Cailyn Ross 13, Marlee Bender 6). Blocks 4 (Bender 2, Ross 1, Annisa Brown 1). Digs 48 (Jasmine Matern 15, Kennedy Grove 8, Serena Hemmingson 8). Assists 28 (Becca Catina 19. Lauren Schulz 9). Aces 8 (Catina 2, Ross 2, Brown 2).

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