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Lady Bulldogs handcuff Lady Wardens with straight-set loss

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MISSION — The Lady Bulldogs turned around three years of misfortune by thrashing the Deer Lodge Lady Wardens in three sets, but not one of their players is going to step up and take credit for the win.

Before the Lady Bulldogs’ 25-10, 25-22, 25-15 homecoming win against the Lady Wardens Thursday night, a parent put a sign in their locker room that read “It’s amazing what you can accomplish, if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

The Lady Bulldogs took the message to heart.

Eight of them registered kills and nine different players scored points to beat a team that they’ve never beaten in Mission coach Kendal Anderson’s three-year tenure as head coach.

“It was a team-unity thing. We just wanted to come out and kill them in three,” said Mission outside  hitter Sierra Scott, who despite playing with an injured shoulder, crushed eight kills. “For us it’s not about who gets the most kills, or whatever, we’re a team...I think it was just a whole team thing.” 

Scott will have to get an MRI to see if she has a torn labrum in a couple of weeks, until then she’ll continue icing and heating her shoulder and playing through the pain. 

“Icy Hot’s my best friend right now,” Scott said.

The Lady Dawgs’ team-unity thing was on display in the first game. With a boisterous crowd and a sea of blue football jerseys tightly packed into a corner, the Lady Bulldogs came out firing. Scott, Adessa Durglo, Jennifer Larsson, Ashley Courville and Loren Erickson all had kills in the first game. The Lady Wardens didn’t have an answer for the Lady Bulldogs high-powered, multi-pronged attack, and when Larsson put the finishing touches on the game with her second kill, they had blown out Deer Lodge 25-10.

“It’s like every single one of them is just hitting the crap out of the ball,” Anderson said. “It’s so nice not having to depend on just one person in the front row.”

Durglo led the Mission attack finishing with 10 kills. Larsson pitched in with seven and Ashley Courville added four. 

The Mission attack runs through Erickson, who dished out 26 assists and put down two kills. Erickson, who played on the C team most of the past season and has never played setter before this season, continues to impress her coach. Anderson said with her footwork, the sophomore is able to cover a lot of the court. As a freshman when Erickson made a mistake, it would eat at her and take her out of the game. This year, she’s able to let it go and focus on the next point.

“She’s matured so much in a year, I don’t know where it came from. I can’t take credit for it, I know that,” Anderson said.

After the game-one rout, Anderson was waiting for the Lady Wardens, who defeated Mission in straight sets at the past year’s divisionals, to retaliate, but they never really did.

The Lady Wardens led for most of the second game, until a kill by Sara Nerby gave the Lady Bulldogs a 19-18 lead. From that point, they ran away with a 25-22 win and were in control the entire 25-15 third-game victory.

“They’ve had such a strong program, I kept waiting for them to attack, but they never really did. I pulled off my double block because all they were doing was tipping the ball and there was nothing to worry about,” Anderson said.

The Lady Bulldogs doubled up the Lady Wardens on kills, finishing with 34 compared to the Lady Wardens’ 16. 

If the Lady Wardens did try to kill the ball, libero Mackenzie Trudeau was there to dig it out. Trudeau led the team with 19 of their 44 digs to go along with her two aces. 

With the convincing victory, the Lady Bulldogs (6-1, 4-0) have now won five straight matches in straight sets and won 18 of their last 19 games. Their last loss was game two in Eureka Sept. 4.

Anderson said with their win streak and by beating a team that has dominated them the past couple of years, the Lady Bulldogs will have plenty of momentum, when they travel to Bigfork Tuesday, to take on the Vals, who should be the Lady Bulldogs stiffest competition in District 7-B this season.

The Lady Bulldogs will be in Darby Thursday and host the upstart Ronan Maidens Saturday.

Mission def. Deer Lodge
25-10, 25-22, 25-15
Kills - Deer Lodge 16 (Kristin Schalk 5), Mission 34 (Adessa Durglo 10). Blocks - Deer Lodge 7 (three with two each), Mission 3 (three with one each). Digs - Deer Lodge 41 (Alicia Bell 10), Mission 44 (Mackenzie Trudeau 19). Assists - Deer Lodge 10 (McCall Sewell 6), Mission 28 (Loren Erickson 26). Aces - Deer Lodge 2 (Schalk, ShyAnne Anderson), Mission 8 (Trudeau 2).

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