Lady Buffs face Big Horn in state tourney opener

By Marlys Good

Sara Schlattmann and her Lady Buffs are on their way to the State 2A Volleyball Championships in Casper as the No. 2 seed from the West. The Buffs, who lost a hard-fought title match to Big Piney, 19-25, 19-25, 23-25, in the West Regional in Lander last weekend, will face Big Horn, the No. 3 seed from the East, today at 2:30 p.m. on Court 2A in the Casper Events Center.

“The match against Big Piney didn’t go as we had hoped,” Coach Schlattmann said. “I think the girls were disappointed that they didn’t play better, but Big Piney is a solid team with some big hitters and a scrappy defense.”

Schlattmann said the Buffs had seven serving errors, but lauded Julia Roberts and Kaylyn Burns who were perfect from the service line.

Also praised were Ky Sorensen and Tatem Edeler who had 14 and eight kills, respectively. Kendall Stephens had five. The Sorensen duo, Ky and Payten, had 11 and 10 digs, respectively, and Edeler led passing out of serve receive.

“Against a team like Big Piney we needed to have a solid block but we never seemed to get our timing down, plus we gave up too many points on errors, both hitting and serving. You just have to have a clean match as the competition gets tougher.”

Greybull played Wyoming Indian in the tournament opener and beat them in three, 25-14, 25-16, 25-18.

“It went pretty well; I always like to get that first match out of the way because there is a always a lot of adrenaline and nervousness,” Schlattmann said.

Although the Buffs dominated the match, Schlattmann said it was not their best performance. Serving was not what the team would have liked, and is something the Buffs have struggled with all season. No one served 100 percent, but Roberts led the way at 95 percent. K. Sorensen led the attack with 13 kills, followed by Edeler who had 10. Brittany Ogg and Stephens had five kills each.

Roberts and Kendall Wright were credited with 18 assists apiece, and P. Sorensen had 14 digs.

The Buffs played Wind River in the semifinals and earned their way to the title match with Big Piney by defeating the Cougars in three sets, 25-20, 25-19, 27-25.

“I felt like this was our best match of the weekend,” Schlattmann said. “We played them a few times this season and split with them.” The third time it was Greybull’s turn.

The team served a nifty 91 percent; Ogg, Wright and Burns were perfect from the line while Roberts and P. Sorensen served up six aces each. K. Sorensen led the attack with 14 kills followed by Edeler with eight and P. Sorensen with five. Wright had 16 assists, and P. Sorensen, 10 digs.

“I think we will match up good with Big Horn,” Schlattmann said, looking ahead to state play. “We just have to take care of business on our side of the net with improved serving, blocking and attacking.”

Greybull and Big Horn share a bracket with Lovell and Sundance, who play at 1 p.m. Winners of the two matches will play in the semi-finals at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The losers meet at 1 p.m. with one team eliminated and the other advancing to the consolation bracket Saturday.

The other side of the bracket includes Wright, Wind River, Niobrara County and Big Piney.

This makes three successive trips to the state tournament. “That will be to our advantage,” Schlattmann said. “We know that no matter what side of the bracket we‘re on, we have to win them all to be the champions. That is our goal; we will do our best.”

A state championship is within reach for the Buffs and this third time might turn out to be the charm.

All 2A matches will be played on Court 2A, which is in front of sections 120 and 121 for fans who plan on attending the tournament.