The Cody volleyball team’s struggles with consistency continued in a 3-1 loss to Evanston on Friday.

“I think we could’ve beat Evanston had we focused more on ourselves instead of the outcome,” Riley Welch said. “Our coach always says ‘once you’re capable, you’re capable’ and we were capable of winning. After the first game we just didn’t have the focus and communication required to finish the game.”

The Fillies started strong, scoring the first five points in the first set on kills by Welch and an ace by Autumn Wilson. The Red Devils tied the match at 6 and it was close until a couple of Evanston errors gave the Fillies a 12-9 lead. A kill by Reece Niemann and block by Grace Shaffer made it 14-9. The Fillies maintained a lead the rest of the way and three straight kills by Wilson gave them a 25-19 win.

“We started the game great,” Birch said. “We just couldn’t hold onto that. We started to let them get into a rhythm and we couldn’t stop their big hitters.”

While Cody basically controlled the first set, it was never in the second. Evanston jumped out to an 8-1 lead and quickly went up 14-3. The Red Devils won 25-11 a short time later.

“We couldn’t pass their serve,” Birch said. “When we struggle to pass we can’t do anything else. Everything depends on being able to pass the ball.”

The Fillies regrouped for the third set. Neither team led by more than a couple points and there were multiple ties including at 21. Evanston scored the next three points to set up game point. After a kill by Wilson the Red Devils won 25-22.

The fourth set also was close early as both teams went back and forth trading points. Evanston gained an advantage and went up 17-14 and gradually pulled away to win 25-19.

“I think we did better at passing and serving tough in the third and fourth games to keep them closer, but our communication wasn’t as strong as it needed to be and that cost us the last few points at the end,” Welch said.

On Saturday the Fillies competed in the Border Wars in Sheridan, finishing 1-3.

“We struggled again all day Saturday,” Birch said. “Most of my team also plays JV and they had matches Thursday and Friday and so by Saturday some were emotionally and physically tired. Despite that we were right there with some really good teams who far outsized us in every position.”

Cody opened with a 25-12, 25-19 loss to Billings Skyview. The Fillies then fell to Billings Senior 25-15, 25-16 and Billings West 27-25, 25-16.

“I thought the competition was tough but we definitely could’ve beat them,” Grace Shaffer said. “In my opinion (Billings) Senior was the toughest only because they had really tall players. Our games with them were kind of close, and we had the capability to beat them, we just didn’t focus hard enough to get the job done.”

In its final game Cody defeated Bozeman 30-28, 25-15.

“Our best match was our last game because we went into the game with no worries and had fun,” Shaffer said. “We played harder and were more mindful.”

Birch also was happy with the way the Fillies finished the day.

“We were finally able to play with the passion and effort we had earlier on in the season,” she said. “When you personally are struggling or as a team are struggling it’s a matter of time before you start playing well again if you are doing the right things to make it happen. I feel that by continuing to work during the struggle helped to make it happen that we could end the day on a positive.”

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