Scarlets succumb to Gardiner, Drummond at Western C divisionals
BUTTE — The Arlee Scarlets reached their goal of playing at the Western C Divisional Volleyball Tournament, but next year they plan to aim a little higher.
After going 0-2 and bowing out early at the Maroon Activities Center Thursday and Friday, the Scarlets won’t be satisfied with just returning to Butte next year.
“I want to go to state and with the girls we have and the girls we have coming up, I think we can do it,” Arlee coach Brian Big Sam said.
The Scarlets got a taste of what it will take to make it to state in their opening match against Gardiner, the Lady Bruins finished third last year and will be returning to the state tournament again this year.
Led by the two-time all-stater Maddie Hoeninghausen, the Lady Bruins cruised to a 25-13, 25-6, 25-13 victory.
“They (Gardiner) had everything together, and were ready to play. They were just that good. They knew what they wanted and they went for it,” Big Sam said.
Though outmatched, Big Sam said his team never quit trying.
“I’m happy with how they handled it. The score doesn’t reflect how they played. They put a lot of effort into it and didn’t just let them score easy points,” Big Sam.
The Scarlets had 80 digs in the three-game match. Senior Melissa Ivanoff led the team with 18. Freshman Bailey Rice followed with 14 and Allie Ligas collected 13. Whitney Malatare, another freshman, also finished in double digits, digging out 11 balls.
Cortney Dix, the Scarlets' setter, led the Arlee attack. The junior led the team with four assists and seven kills.
The Scarlets finished the season with a four-set loss to the Drummond Lady Trojans. Big Sam said in the 25-19, 25-8, 22-25, 25-11, the Scarlets came prepared to stop the hard hits of the Lady Trojans and couldn’t adjust when they started tipping the ball.
After only getting 12 kills in their match against Gardiner, the Scarlet offense got back on track against the District 9-C champs, but it wasn’t enough. The Scarlets finished with 30 kills, with Dix and Nelson finishing tied for the team lead with 10 apiece. Mahalia Hendren added seven to go along with her team-high six blocks.
The Lady Trojans’ attack kept the Arlee defense busy. The Scarlets dug out 181 balls. Nelson led the way with 41. All eight Scarlets finished in double digits in digs.
Forced into the lineup, Big Sam was impressed with how freshmen Rice and Malatare responded. Malatare finished with 32 digs and a team-high three aces. Rice dug out 35 balls.
“I’m really impressed with the freshmen girls. They did whatever I wanted of them and would listen to me,” Big Sam said, adding that the two will play a big role in determining if the Scarlets will get to state next year.
The Scarlets finish the season 15-7. They will lose Ivanoff, Cassandra Kline, Maria Pablo, and Allie Ligas, but have a lot of players returning. Big Sam said that the returning players will have to put in a lot of work in the offseason if they want to catch up with the top teams of District 8-C. The four top teams of District 8-C only dropped two games to District 9-C and 10-C teams at the divisional tournament, with the fourth-seeded Twin Bridges losing both of them.
Gardiner def. Arlee
25-13, 25-6, 25-13
Kills - Arlee 12 (Courtney Dix 7), Gardiner 39 (Maddie Hoeninghausen 12). Blocks - Arlee 10 (Dix 5), Gardiner 3 (M. Hoeninghausen 2). Digs - Arlee 80 (Melissa Ivanoff 18), Gardiner 57 (Kelly Harbach 17). Assists - Arlee 7 (Dix 5), Gardiner 33 (Alexis Perius 32). Aces - Arlee 1 (Becca Nelson), Gardiner 17 (Jackie Brennan 9).
Drummond def. Arlee
25-19, 25-8, 22-25, 25-11
Kills - Arlee 33 (Courtney Dix 10, Becca Nelson 10), Drummond 50 (Ayla Martell 15, Jessi Dahl 13). Blocks - Arlee 16 (Mahalia Hendren 6), Drummond 11 (Dahl 5, Rhianna Pool 3). Digs - Arlee 186 (Nelson 41), Drummond 59 (Kenzee Gray 14, Ashley Mannix 14). Assists - Arlee 17 (Dix 14), Drummond 48 (Sarah Angelo 37). Aces - Arlee 9 (Dix 3, Hendren 3, Whitney Malatare 3), Drummond 16 (Gray 5, Emilie Angelo 4).