Saturday, February 24, 2018

Middle hitter Demi Uffelman prepares to strike against Glendive on Saturday, helped by stronger defensive back-up from her fellow players.

Hardin volleyball defense steps up, enabling team to take down Sidney and Glendive

Defensive capabilities are prepped and ready this season for the Lady Bulldog volleyball team who, according to Hardin setter Shea Esp, have worked extensively in practice to better their passes. A good defense, in this case, leads to a good offense – more strikes, more kills and more wins.
“If our passes are on, everything else is on,” Esp said, “We found our groove, we found our rhythm and we’ve been talking really well. There’s an amazing team dynamic.”
“Just being in the right spot when they slam it down and you hit it up,” added defensive specialist Shaunita Nomee, “is the best feeling ever.”
The Sidney Eagles fell Friday and Glendive Red Devils Saturday in away games as the Ladies moved closer to their apex.
Hardin took down Sidney in three sets – their second such game in two weeks – due to holes in the Eagles’ defense. Sidney was young and “super scrappy,” Esp said, but the Ladies had more experience and also were “super scrappy.” By the end, Hardin had 37 kills to Sidney’s eight and 31 assists to Sidney’s nine.
Final scores for the game were 25-12, 25-7 and 25-19.
Glendive posed more of a challenge; they went down in four sets.
“All year, we’ve had trouble finishing,” Esp said. “The third game, we let up and they got on a roll. By then, it too late for us to get fired up.”
Glendive players were especially effective at tipping the ball over the net, according to Nomee, who had to keep up with the straight-on shots. They also dealt underhand using roll shots, Esp said, though her team was quick to account for this technique.
“They’re a good team, but aren’t very aggressive,” Esp said. “They’re pretty predictable.”
Final scores for the game were 25-23, 17-25, 25-21 and 25-19.
This Thursday, the Ladies face the Billings Central Rams at home. To defeat Central, Esp said, the Ladies will need to be strong mentally and shut down the Rams’ middle hitter.
Volleyball results:
Hardin def. Sidney: 25-12, 25-7 and 25-19
Assists: 31 – Shea Esp 25; Kills: 37 – Demi Uffelman 10; Blocks: 3 – Mariah Simmons 2; Aces: 7 – Katie Murdock 3; Digs: 44 – Katie Murdock 15
Hardin def. Glendive: 25-12, 25-7 and 25-19
Stats unavailable