Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lady Bulldog setter Katie Murdock bumps the ball during a home game Saturday afternoon in the Hardin High School gymnasium as fellow players Demi Uffelman (left) and Natalie Edgar look on.Hardin outside hitter Nicole Green celebrates a  successful kill by the Lady Bulldogs.

Lady Bulldogs struggle to victory against Miles City Cowgirls

Lady Bulldog volleyball
A competitive first set between the Hardin and Miles City volleyball teams fell into more of a routine back-and-forth Saturday afternoon as the Lady Bulldogs claimed victory over the Cowgirls in their first home game. Hardin’s Ladies may have won in four sets, their setter Shea Esp said, but “it wasn’t our best volleyball.”
“They started out really, really well,” said Tiffany Moullet, head coach for the Lady Bulldogs. “Then we just kind of lost it.
“It was a tough match. They had to work for everything.”
Following the Ladies’ 25-21 victory in the first set, their situation soured in the second as the score climbed 10-19 in the Cowgirls’ favor. Miles City had a knack for finding gaps in Hardin’s defense and took advantage of the openings with precise kill shots.
Hardin attempted to catch up, but they were too far gone to make up the difference, resulting in a second set score of 16-25.
Libero Katie Murdock noted that, in the second set, her team began to “let the mistakes get to us.” Esp added that communication could have been better.
The third set was a different story; the Ladies shot ahead with a strong offense, giving them an 18-8 lead. According to Moullet, “We were killing them.” As the set went on, she continued, Hardin lost inertia and began “playing to survive.”
“We just didn’t have the energy,” Murdock said. 
Hardin still won the third set, but Miles City halved their lead for a score of 25-20.
The fourth set, Moullet said, was “okay,” but the team didn’t achieve her objective of “[running] away with” the game. They actually won by the game’s closest margin: 26-24.
“We would find our rhythm for a while and lose it,” she said. “We’d find it, make a mistake and lose it.”
Hardin’s defense was “on fire” during the recent Border Wars tournament in Wyoming, Moullet said. In their away game against Billings Central this Thursday and home game with Glendive this Saturday, she wants them to recapture that same resolve.

Hardin def. Miles City

25-21, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24

Assists: 35 – Shea Esp 35; Kills: 46 – Demi Uffelman 18; Blocks: 4.5 – Mariah Simmons 2.5; Aces: 12 – Natalie Edgar 5; Digs: 69 – Katie Murdock 24