Saturday, February 24, 2018

Outside hitter Natalie Edgar prepares to bump the ball Tuesday afternoon during practice at Hardin High School.

Lady Bulldog volleyball team tries new hitting strategies at Glendive Tip-Off

Hardin’s Lady Bulldog volleyball team entered the arena this weekend at the Glendive Tip-Off, facing six teams in total: Havre, Fergus, Sidney, Laurel, Billings Central and Livingston. Overall, they earned wins against Havre and Sidney; tied with Laurel; and lost to Fergus, Central and Livingston.
Though losses outnumber wins in the initial clashes, Hardin setter Shea Esp showed confidence in her team’s work ethic and ability to adapt. They’re trying new strategies involving the hitter positions, she added. 
For example, in the front row, right side hitter Arena Plenty and middle hitter Mariah Simmons might switch places during a match for further coverage across the net.
“The other guys, they don’t know what’s going on all the time,” she said. “It’s really fun.”
The Ladies were at their best during their initial contest on Friday against Havre’s Blue Ponies, Esp said. According to Esp, they “came out and annihilated them” 25-9, then 25-12. 
As far as worst games go, Esp focused on their final match Saturday against Livingston.
With Livingston, they initially fell behind during the first two games, though they managed to pull ahead for a 25-21 win in the second. Even though they came out on top that time, Esp explained, they shouldn’t have fallen behind in the first place. 
The first and third games, however, they stayed behind by the end with scores of 22-25, then 15-17 respectively.
Despite a high intensity and fast offense, she said, the team was inconsistent and “couldn’t find a happy medium” during their Livingston match-up.
As for possible difficulties with their rotating hitter strategy, she continued, those were largely solved during their team camp over the summer.
At present, the Ladies have nine players, with three more varsity jerseys up for grabs. Captains for 2017 are Esp, Demi Uffelman and Katie Murdock.
This weekend, the Ladies travel to Cody, Wyo. for their Border Wars tournament. Their first home game for the year will be played against the Miles City Cowgirls on Sept. 9.