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Lady Vikings capture third at Spike It

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ARLEE — The ending may have been the same for the Lady Vikings, but the story leading up to it was definitely different at the Arlee Spike It Tournament.

The Lady Vikings were sent to the consolation match from the Spike It tourney with a 10-15, 11-15, 10-6 loss to the Drummond Lady Trojans in the semifinals. It was the third time that the Lady Trojans had dashed the Lady Vikings’ championship hopes at a tournament, but it was the first time that they took it to the third game, and it was the first time that the outcome was determined more by the Lady Trojans’ play rather than the Lady Vikings beating themselves.

“We just made some small errors that are correctable. I think in a full game it may have a different outcome, you never know,” Charlo coach Sheryl Kain said. “I like the fact that we took them to three. They’re a good team. They play well together.”

The Lady Trojans, who the Vikings beat in four sets in Drummond in their only regular season match, are favorites in their district to make it to divisionals and the type of competition Kain wishes her team would see more of.

“I think they need tough games, so we can get better. You’re only going to improve by playing tough teams,” Kain said.

In the first game against Drummond, a kill by Deondra Brown, who finished tied with Kinley Pope with a team-high four kills against the Lady Trojans, pulled the Lady Vikings within a point at 11-10. But the Lady Vikings’ next serve went into the net and they had two hitting errors down the stretch in the 15-10 loss. 

In the second game the Lady Vikings trailed late, but were able to come through in the clutch, thanks to the serving of Derika Stipe. Trailing 10-12, Stipe had two of her team-high 10 aces at the tournament and the Lady Trojans couldn’t return another of her serves down the stretch. Brown ended the game with a kill to send the match into a third game with a 15-13 victory. 

In the third game, the Lady Vikings fell behind early and never could recover. 

“I thought we played better and I hope we continue to get better. And I think we will. I don’t think we’ve played our best volleyball yet,” Kain said.

The Lady Vikings, who didn’t make it to the afternoon play of last year’s tournament, rebounded from the loss with a 15-6, 14-5, 10-4 win over Lincoln to take home the bronze. The Lady Lynx had the same record as the Lady Vikings in pool play, but were the pool’s top seed because of a coin toss.

“All and all it was a good day. We made some errors, but they’re easy to correct. At least we played in the afternoon unlike last year. We went 3-0 in the morning and the only thing that kept us from being the top seed was a coin toss,” Kain said.

After a “here we go again” moment by starting the tournament with a 10-15 loss to Seeley-Swan, the notorious late-starting Lady Vikings looked tough the rest of the morning. They came back to  beat the Lady Blackhawks 15-14, 10-4. Then beat Arlee 15-10, 11-15, 10-4 and ended pool play with a 15-6, 15-6 victory. 

Pope led the team with 27 of their 84 kills. She also had a team-high 35 digs. The Lady Vikings finished with 170 digs. Dawn Blevins led the team with 32 assists and Brown had a team-high four blocks to go with her eight kills. Rachel Hoyt added 13 kills and Royelle Esterby added 14.

The Lady Vikings improved to 7-0 with a straight-set victory over the Lady Tigers at home Thursday. After being challenged in the first game Charlo cruised to a conference victory; dismantling the Lady Tigers 25-18, 25-2, 25-4.

The Lady Vikings will host Noxon Saturday.

Charlo def. St. Regis
25-18, 25-2, 25-4.
Kills - St. Regis 8 (Lisa Stevens 3, Rolisha Rhodes 3), Charlo 30 (Kinley Pope 9). Blocks - St. Regis 4 (Stevens 2, Sierra Slavin 2), Charlo 0. Digs - St. Regis 10 (Leandra Baldwin 3), Charlo 11 (Deondra Brown 3, Jessica Foust 3). Assists - St. Regis 5 (Juliana Spencer 5), Charlo 20 (Dawn Blevins 14). Aces - St. Regis 4 (Spencer 2), Charlo 28 (Pope 10).

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