Ansley-Litchfield's Felicia Shepardson digs the ball out during the final game of their match with Twin Loup Thursday night. Ansley would win the match 2 games to 1.
SARGENT -- Twin Loup hosted rival Ansley-Litchfield as well as Anselmo-Merna in the season-opening triangular.
The first game featured Twin Loup and Anselmo-Merna. The Coyotes kept it close before the Wolves pulled away to win the first game 25-19. Alex Hart had two kills and two aces in the first game. She was helped out by junior Becca Clark's three aces. Junior Tristan Kirwan and sophomore Jackie Lewis also had an ace each.
Junior Heather Davis had three kills for the Coyotes in the first game.
Twin Loup won the second game by the score of 25-9, giving them time to rest and watch their competition.
The Spartans of Ansley-Litchfield defeated the Coyotes 25-9 and 25-12. Lindsy Siegel had three kills and an ace to go with three kills by Kayla Reynolds. Taylor Pickar also had a kill in the first game.
In the second game, Hanna Lane made a difference with her three aces in the match.
Coyotes coach Kindle Arnold knew going in that her team was going to have to go through some growing pains in the first couple matches of the season. The play that followed showed that wasn't far from the truth.
"The first two matches of the season are tough matches," Arnold said. "I hope to be more aggressive in the future."
It isn't just aggressiveness that the Coyotes are going to have to work on. Sharing the volleyball, or lack thereof, is something that cost the team points through their first two games.
"We really need to get our passing down senior Janae Hostick said. "Passing is the base and it's kind of shaky right now, but we will get it."
Senior Kassie Russell also talked about the the teams attitude and confidence during their first two contests.
Both her and Hostick know that the morale of the team is going to have to stay up for the team to be successful.
"Once one of us gets down, we all get down," Russell said. "We need to pick each other up and have confidence. We're a confident team, we just need to show it."
This worked out almost like a tournament with the two winning teams meeting in the final match. Twin Loup took the first game 25-12 before Ansley-Litchfield turned the tide, beating the Wolves 25-9 in game two to force a third and deciding game.
Ansley-Litchfield coach Pat Hoblyn talked about the teams adjustments that allowed them to turn the tide of the match.
"We talked about confidence, consistency and the fact that we had to pass, set, hit every time," Hoblyn said. "They got on a roll the first game. They had some very nice serves and the second game , we handled their serves a little better once we knew what they were going to send at us."
Hart came back to life for the Wolves in game one, recording three kills and two aces. Clark and Madison Kozeal each had one kill. Siegel had a kill for the Spartans in game one.
Siegel continued her impressive night with two more kills in game two to go with two kills by Shawna Paitz.
The third and final game went right down to the wire and forced extra points. Ansley-Litchfield was down 18-10 at one point, but rallied back to win 26-24.
Siegel had five kills to go with Paitz's one and one by Pickar.
Ansley-Litchfield starts the season 2-0 while Twin Loup moves to 1-1 and Anselmo-Merna gets off to a 2-0 start.
Watching those final two points go down to the wire was hard on the nerves of Hoblyn. She breathed a big sigh of relief once the final ball hit the hardwood.
"Both sides played quality volleyball," Hoblyn said. "There we're some bugs worked out on both sides and we will meet again. It will be some great volleyball."
Twin Loup had a large lead in the third game and were in a good position to put the Spartans away, but couldn't close the deal. Despite the loss, coach Tammi Phillipps liked the effort her team gave throughout the match.
"The ball just didn't go our way," Phillips said. "We we're exactly where we needed to be and when you get blocked like that and have to dig it up, its tough. We will get to see them again though. I'm proud of the way they really came together. They never gave up. That's what I wanted them to do."
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