Buffs bring home North Big Horn Invite championship

By Marlys Good

What a great way to kick off the 2017 net season. The Greybull Lady Buffs dominated competition at the North Big Horn Invitational at Rocky Mountain High School in Cowley last weekend, and came home with the championship by scoring a two-game victory over Lovell, 25-20, 25-20, in the bracketed tournament Saturday.

“We had a pretty good weekend,” said Coach Sara Schlattmann. “I was very proud of the girls and how hard they played. It was a fun weekend for them; it showcased their maturity, skills and great attitude.”

In Friday’s pool play, Greybull swept the three matches, defeating Burlington, 25-17, 25-10; Ten Sleep, 25-11, 25-12, and Rocky Mountain, 25-13, 25-10, to earn the first seed from Pool A in Saturday’s bracketed tournament.

First up was 1A Meeteetse and the Lady Longhorns gave the Buffs a good fight before the Buffs pulled off the 25-19, 25-19 win. The victory pitted Greybull against the Tongue River Lady Eagles in the semifinals with the Buffs prevailing, 25-18, 25-15.

The 25-20, 25-20 win in the championship was especially sweet for the Buffs as it was over conference rival Lovell, always a strong opponent.

Schlattmann said they had “shuffled the lineup” this year, which takes some getting used to, but her athletes did a good job adjusting, and hit well.

Ky Sorensen and Tatem Edeler led them in kills with 35 and 32 respectively, but more important, Schlattmann said, the Buffs were able to get the ball to “our other hitters.” Brittany Ogg had 10 kills, Kendall Stephens, seven, and Avery Howe, eight. “They did a good job placing the ball to open spots on the court.” Setter Kendall Wright had 53 assists.

Schlattmann said her team did a great job of passing out of serve receive. “I was very impressed; it punctuated how much we have focused on that in practice for the past two weeks. Payten Sorensen passed phenomenally and led the team in digs. She is quick, has such great form, and reads the play well.”

The team did a good job communicating. Schlattmann said the Buffs had a few errors as a result of not talking. “I believe that to be one of the biggest factors in games, particularly when it is a close game.”

However, there are things the coaches saw that need some work. One of them was serving, which was not where Schlattmann would have liked it to be. The goal is to be above 90 percent, but in one of the weekend matches the Buffs served just 80 percent, and collectively for the weekend, it was 85 percent. “I think this is a fairly easy fix, but it requires our girls to really get focused. We will spend time on that this week.”

A bright spot from the line was Julia Roberts, who was praised for stepping up and serving 95 percent, with 14 aces, during the tournament.

Greybull goes to Pavillion for the Wind River Invitational Friday. Schlattmann said it will give the Buffs an opportunity to compete against teams from the Southwest, which will be good.