Regional crown goes to Lady Buffs

Nathan Oster

Open state tourney play vs. Pine Bluffs

The Greybull Lady Buffs steamrolled St. Stephens, Shoshoni and Rocky Mountain last weekend in Riverton, losing just a single set en route to their first Class 2A West Regional volleyball championship since 2018.
As the top seed from the West, they’ll contend for a state title later this week in Casper.
“It is very exciting to see our girls playing at their best at the right time of the year,” said Coach Sara Schlattmann.  “I just couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The Lady Buffs didn’t break a sweat in their regional opener, downing St. Stephens in three easy sets, 25-3, 25-5, 25-10. The match gave the regulars a chance to get familiar with the court and deal with their tournament jitters and with the outcome no longer in doubt, it gave Schlattmann a chance to play all her reserves, which should pay benefits down the road.
In the semis, the Lady Buffs faced Shoshoni.  The teams knew each other well. While Greybull won both regular season matchups, they were competitive, with their most recent meeting in Shoshoni going five sets.
“I knew that we would need to be playing at a low error rate and the team did just that,” Schlattmann said of the 25-14, 25-18, 17-25, 25-15 win.  Setter Chase Benasky played a key role, dishing out 29 assists.  Leading attackers were Aleksey McColloch with 12 kills, Kelsie McColloch with 11, Perla Rodriguez with nine, Kennedy Craft with two and Ashley Gomez with one.
“I think we did a good job of distributing the ball to all of our hitters and only had eight attack errors,” said Schlattmann.
The Lady Buffs had a strong serving game, at 90% with seven aces.  Josselyn Jara and Kelsie McColloch achieved 100% serving.  Caroline Boyer led the passing at 87% with 10 digs.  Craft had seven digs and 90% passing and Jara had 6 digs. 
“In comparison to our previous matchup with Shoshoni, it was just a much better executed performance,” she said.
That set the stage for Saturday afternoon championship match and a third encounter with Rocky Mountain.  While the Grizzlies have been steadily improving, they were no match for the Buffs, who prevailed 25-10, 25-22, 25-8.
“Our girls just went out with the right mindset,” said Schlattmann. “Chaise did a great job of spreading out our offensive attack and our hitters did a great job of adjusting and had few errors.”
Aleksey McColloch led with 12 kills, followed by Kelsie McColloch and Craft with nine apiece and Perla Rodriguez with four kills and four stuff blocks. Benasky had 29 assists.  Serving was led by Boyer, Jara and Kelsie McColloch, all at 100% from the line.  Greybull was 91% as a team. 
“It was sure fun to witness these girls playing at a high level and staying focused,” said Schlattmann. “They had a goal in mind and they didn’t lose sight of it.  I am very blessed to have a group of very talented ladies.”
Schlattmann added, “A huge shoutout to our fans, parents, and then a very exciting welcome home for our team.  We are blessed to live in a very supportive community and we just can’t thank everyone enough for all the support this season.”
On to state
Greybull will face Pine Bluffs in the opening round of the Class 2A Volleyball Championships today (Thursday, Nov. 2) at the Casper Events Center.  It’ll be the final 2A game of the day, with an estimated start time of 6 p.m.
On Friday, Greybull will face either Shoshoni or Burns.  If it’s in the winners’ bracket, it’ll start at 6 p.m.  If not, it’ll take place at 2:30 p.m.
“The east side of the state is certainly a very competitive group,” said Schlattmann.  “There will be no easy matches. 
“I think we have done our best to position ourselves at the state tournament.  We will have to play our best ball, but I am confident we will.”
On the other side of the 2A bracket, Big Horn plays Big Piney and Rocky Mountain squares off against Tongue River.
Big Horn is the top seed from the East and “the team to beat,” according to Schlattmann, adding that the Rams have “proven themselves all season.
Burns, who could be Greybull’s opponent in the semifinals, “is coming on strong and will also be very competitive,” said Schlattmann. “It will be a fight for sure.  I am excited for this team and it will be a fun weekend.”