Saturday, February 24, 2018

Lady Bulldog hitter Elissa Lind spikes the ball at Billings Central during Saturday’s home game in Hardin, where the Ladies were defeated in four sets. Other Hardin players getting into defensive positions include (from background to foreground) Keaunna Mason, Kourtney Chavez, Sarah Edgar and Aubrey Meiwald.Elissa Lind (left) and Ashley Uffelman attempt to block a shot from Billings Central. If a ball gets past a block, it’s the job of the defensive passers to make the save.

Billings Central ousts Hardin volleyball team from top tier of Eastern A division

Hardin’s Lady Bulldog volleyball team was knocked down to No. 2 in the Eastern A division Saturday afternoon after four sets against Billings Central’s Lady Rams. Everything seemed “off” during the game, according to Hardin Head Coach Tiffany Moullet, and the Ladies made a lot of small mistakes.
As stated by setter Shea Esp, many of the problems for the team were rooted in a lack of communication and an inability to get “fired up.”
“We lost the entire match by 10 points and we missed 11 serves,” Moullet said. “It was a heartbreaker. Definitely a game we should not have lost.”
The final scores in the contest with Billings Central were – in the Lady Rams’ favor – 25-23, 25-22, 20-25 and 25-20. 
Elissa Lind and Keaunna Mason were at the top in kills, hitting nine points each of 40 total, Mason and Aubrey Meiwald had the most blocks with four and three respectively of 11, Lind and Kourtney Chavez served the most aces with two of eight each, Lind and Sarah Edgar controlled the ball with 12 and 11 digs respectively of 60, and Chavez and Esp set up the hitters with 16 and 15 assists respectively of 40.
In an interview last week, Moullet said Central came equipped with “one really, really strong player” who they would need to avoid on the court. Said player, Ellie Hanser scored 13 kills of 42 and four blocks of eight on the Ladies.
“She just swung away at us and we kind of let her swing,” Moullet said. “We can’t let players like her do that.”
Billings Central, in part, defeated Hardin through the power of offensive coordination. This meant they had hitters across the net to whom setters could pass the ball. One of the hitters, Alix Elliot, racked up another nine kills for the Lady Rams.
To deflect a well-balanced attack, Moullet said, the defense needed its blockers to be ready and, if that failed, passers to be on stand-by. If one thing falls apart, she said, everything falls apart.
The key to recovering from an off-day as a team, according to Esp, is rooted in mental toughness. Once communication is picked up, everything follows behind it.
“If you realize you’re having an off-day or one of your teammates is having an off-day, you need to be able to pick yourself up or help your teammates,” she said. “Not necessarily make up for anything, but help them realize what they’re capable of and get it firing on all cylinders.”
Though displeased with the game’s outcome, Moullet sees the loss as a “wakeup call” and believes the team will bounce back and earn more wins in the future.
The team travels to Glendive Sept. 8, to face off against the Lady Red Devils.