Buffs face Big Piney in regional opener

Marlys Good

The Lady Buffs go into the West Regional Tournament in Lander this weekend as the No. 3 seed from the Northwest and will face the Lady Punchers from Big Piney in Friday’s opener.

Greybull is coming off a weekend split with Shoshoni and Big Horn, topping the Lady Blue of Shoshoni in four sets, 25-23, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23, and taking a three-set drubbing at the hands of Big Horn in the regular season closer, 20-25, 13-25, 17-25.

Looking at the win over Shoshoni, Coach Sara Schlattmann noted, “It was a fantastic team effort that helped us land the win over Shoshoni Friday night for our last home match.” The team served an excellent 92% led by Kelsey McColloch, Fatima Chavez and Josselyn Jara; all three were perfect from behind the service line. “Both Fatima and Josselyn came off the bench and really just provided a huge spark for us and I was very proud of them, as that a be a difficult situation to be in,” Schlattmann concluded.

In addition to the good serving, Coach Schlattman said, “We had some phenomenal defensive efforts as well.” She noted the efforts of Caroline Boyer, who had 17 digs on the right side, and the great effort of Buff blockers, “who did a great job of getting to Shoshoni’s primary hitters, which was a tremendous help.”

Offensively, the coach praised the efforts of Chaise Benasky for “getting sets to her hitters” and Aleksey McColloch, who had 13 kills, followed by Kennedy Craft with 7 and Kaitlynn Briscoe with 4.

“This was one of our best overall team wins,” Schlattmann said, “where everyone was contributing and working incredibly hard. I was very proud of them. And again, very thankful for a great crowd that helped support us and cheered loudly for our team.”

The story was not the same at Big Horn Saturday. The Buffs did start out with a 7-1 lead, but that didn’t last. “Big Horn slowly inched back. They had some powerful hitters that we couldn’t quite get our hands on either blocking or passing.” Schlattmann said serving was down a bit, to 88% as a team. Kelsie M. and Ashley Gomez both served 100%; Aleksey M. served 93%.

Coach Schlattmann again had high praise for some of her athletes “who haven’t had a lot of opportunity to serve, or hadn’t been six rotation players, and really stepped up for us this weekend.”

Offensively, she noted both McCollochs had 8 kills and Emerald Jordan had 4 kills.

Looking to the regional tournament, Schlattmann said that the first opponent, Big Piney, is the No. 2 seed from the Southwest. The two teams will face off at 11:30 Friday in the Auxiliary gym in Lander. The two share a bracket with Rocky Mountain; as the top seed from the Northwest, the Grizzlies drew a bye and will take on the winner of the Greybull/Big Piney match at 4:30 Friday in the Lander Field House.

The loser will play Saturday morning at 9:30 in a match to determine which team advances and which team will go home.

 “I am very excited for this weekend and feel like we are well positioned,” said Schlattmann. “These girls showed that they have the resilience that is needed to work their way through a regional tournament. I am looking forward to this weekend’s action.”