Lady Buffs play well but fall short at 2A State tournament; fall to Burns, Rocky

Marlys Good

The Lady Buffs might have lost their two matches at the State 2A Tournament in Casper, but they came home as winners, nonetheless. They met Burns in the opener Thursday and lost 28-30, 28-26, 16-25, 17-25. Burns went on to win the 2A championship and the Buffs played them point-for-point in the opener.

The loss sent Greybull into the consolation bracket where they met their conference nemesis, Rocky Mountain. The Buffs gave the Grizzlies all they could handle, but fell short, 26-21, 25-27, 19-25, 24-26.

“I was incredibly proud of our team,” Coach Sara Schlattmann said “We knew that Burns would be a tough match, and those girls just worked their tails off. But as you know, momentum is a crazy thing and when it shifts, it can be very hard to get back. We had two very tight sets with Burns and then things started to fall off. Our serving was spot on at 96% and was led by Kaitlynn Briscoe, Josselyn Jara and Fatima Chavez all serving 100%, and then drops to Caroline Boyer who served 25 times with 4 aces for 96%.”

 Boyer also led the defense with 14 digs and 63% passing efficiency. Kelsie McColloch, Kennedy Craft and Chaise Benasky had 9 digs each. Kelsie also led the attack with 12 kills. Aleksey McColloch added 11 kills, Briscoe had 7, Emerald Jordan and Kraft had 3 kills. Benasky had 30 assists.

The match with Rocky Mountain was also hard-fought. The two teams had met before and both teams knew what to expect from the other.  A tight match “that didn’t end the way we wanted it to” Schlattmann said. “I loved that our girls worked so hard and showed that they deserved to be there.”

   Looking at the match, Schlattmann said, “We seemed to have a mental block with Rocky all season long and unfortunately we weren’t able to overcome it. It wasn’t for lack of effort though. We talked about keeping things clean on our side of the net and that is really what tripped us up.”

According to the coach, the Buffs made a few too many errors sometimes in key moments.  She added that the state tournament is very intense competition and the pressure tends to create errors.

   Serving was 92% as a team. Chavez, Briscoe and Kelsie M. were all 100%. Boyer and Benasky led in digs with 13 and 12 each. Offensively, Aleksey, Kelsie and Briscoe had 13 kills each.

   Schlattmann said her athletes had set a goal in the pre-season to return to the state tournament, and they met that goal. “I hope they came away with the confidence they will need to build on that next season.”

    The coach noted the growth she had seen in the team from the beginning of the season until the end of the season and how much she had enjoyed seeing that growth. “It was fun to see them reap the benefits of a tremendous focus on passing and serving.”

   Two Buffs will be lost to graduation – Emerald Jordan and Kate Briscoe. “They have been a big part of this team all season and over the past four years. Emerald has been a strong, consistent presence on the floor and one of our captains. She worked hard in the off-season to improve and I have appreciated her calm, steady mindset. Kate was certainly a presence in the front row and kept the other teams on their toes. Although not a middle, she played the position well. Both will be missed and not easy to replace.”