Lady Bulldogs rekindle team spirit
ST. IGNATIUS – For the Lady Bulldogs, this has been a season of trials and tribulations with Mission looking to find some of that Lady Bulldogs’ fight before next week’s postseason hopes.
After starting the season out strong, with four straight wins, the Lady Bulldogs went into a slump of losses, something head coach Kendal Anderson attributes to not being able to come together and play a complete match as a complete team.
“Since the beginning of the season, we haven’t just had a game where we were all in sync,” Anderson said. “It’s just been this crazy thing of when our passing is great then our hitting is off; and when our hitting is there, our passing won’t be.”
Though the Lady Bulldogs lost their last two matches, Anderson has seen a spark among her Lady Bulldogs when on the court, a spark that wasn’t there before.
“The girls were playing better together,” she said. “We did still end up losing but it was to two tough teams. But I think the girls are starting to play better, which is great before playoffs.”
Leading the Lady Bulldogs on the court are Lindsay Johnson, Emilie Charlo and Shania Dubois. Anderson said the three “have really stepped it up this year.”
“Lindsay is leading in kills and right up there in digs,” Anderson said. “Emilie has been blocking and hitting better than she ever has in the past and Shania is just an all-around player. She’s very reliable and you can always count on her.”
On Thursday the Lady Bulldogs hosted tough rivals the Ronan Maidens, with Mission taking the defeat on the court 0-3.
Johnson topped her team with 16 digs and five kills while teammate Jordyn Eichert had 10 assists and a pair of aces.
Johnson and Eichert combined for 20 of the Lady Bulldogs’ digs —10 apiece — in Friday’s contest against Thompson Falls, with Mission tumbling in the 0-3 sweep. Charlo was a jump force at the net, blocking six.
Saturday Mission finished up their regular season with a 0-3 loss to Florence. Johnson had a team-high nine kills and four digs for the Lady Bulldogs.
Anderson believes the girls had lost their way in forgetting that volleyball is a game and it’s supposed to be fun, something the Lady Bulldogs, according to Anderson, are finally starting to understand. That comes at a good time as playoff season starts Saturday with the Lady Bulldogs needing a win against Deer Lodge in the play-in game to play at the District Tournament that same day.
“I think the difference is we’ve been talking about getting back to playing volleyball and just having fun,” she said. “Before they were so worried about making mistakes or doing something that may lose the game, and they just weren’t having fun anymore. The last two games the girls were actually having fun and it made a huge difference.”
Now it’s down to one game.
“We’re just hoping that we can win the play-in game so we can continue on. We’re just focusing on beating Deer Lodge,” she said.
The Lady Bulldogs will challenge Deer Lodge Saturday for the chance to compete at the District Tournament hosted by Ronan Nov.1.
Ronan def. Mission25-10, 25-15, 26-24
Thompson Falls def. Mission 25-11, 25-12, 25-13
Florence def. Mission 25-7, 25-15, 25-9