The Cody volleyball team is off to a strong start, finishing undefeated in the Border Wars after defeating Montana schools Livingston, Miles City, Sidney and Laurel during the weekend.
“It was awesome,” junior Brittan Bower said. “And being at home makes it special for us. It was nice to have the support.”
Coach Stephanie Birch was pleased with the different ways Cody earned its victories.
“We won in a variety of ways which was good to see,” she said. “We came from behind, we played from ahead, we came from really behind.”
The Fillies opened against Livingston and looked sharp early against the Park High School Rangers. After the first point, Cody never trailed in game one but it was close until midway through. Tied at 12, the Fillies scored four in a row after two Park errors, an ace by Emily Larsen and kill by Riley Welch. Cody slowly pulled away from there leading 23-15 after a kill by Reece Niemann. Kills by Welch and Larsen gave Cody a 25-16 win.
“We started strong and were excited to be at home,” Ally Schroeder said.
The second set was again close. It was tied multiple times, with the final coming at 21 all. Cody then scored the next four points in a run that included a Welch kill and block by Grace Shaffer to win 25-21.
The Fillies trailed for much of game three but came back to tied it at 20 on an ace by Larsen and took a 23-20 lead. A kill by Welch gave Cody game point at 24-22, but Park came back to tie it at 24, 25 and 26. The Rangers then scored the final two points to win 28-26.
The Fillies struggled in the fourth set, falling behind 13-6 and losing 25-11.
“This was our first match playing to 25 and our first three out of five so it was an adjustment,” Birch said.
It was back and forth in the deciding set. The Rangers went up 13-11, but a hitting error and block by Welch tied the game at 13. The Rangers had two game-point opportunities but the Fillies tied it at 15 on a Welch kill and earned a game-point opportunity of their own after a Park miscue. A tip by Welch gave Cody a 17-15 win and a 3-2 match victory.
“We went back to the basics and played in the present,” Schroeder said.
Cody faced Custer County High School out of Miles City in its second match and won 3-0.
The Fillies quickly pulled away in the first set, scoring eight unanswered points to lead 15-5. Shaffer had two aces during the run. Cody took advantage of multiple Cowgirl errors to go up 21-11. Back-to-back aces by Welch and a kill by Larsen made it game point. A Custer net serve gave Cody a 25-11 win.
The second set went much the same way, with Cody quickly pulling ahead 9-3. The Fillies outscored the Cowgirls 8-5 to lead 17-9 and continued to pull away. A kill by Schroeder set up game point and a Custer error made it 25-14.
As Cody did against Park, the team struggled more in the third set and quickly found itself down 10-3. The Fillies committed multiple unforced errors in the early part of the set and trailed 22-12. After an out serve by Custer, Cody scored three points in a row. With the Cowgirls up 23-16, a kill by Schroeder got Cody the ball back.
“We do a lot of situations like that in practice,” Birch said. “It’s one point at a time, just one good thing and not get too far ahead of ourselves.”
The Fillies then scored four straight to pull within two before Custer scored to set up game point. A tip by Larsen, kill by Welch and rotation error by the Cowgirls made it 24-all. After Custer scored to go up 25-24, Cody tied the match and took a lead on a kill by Welch. An out hit by Custer gave the Fillies the 27-25 victory.
“Our energy went down but then we came together and started playing as a team again,” Schroeder said. “We never give up no matter how bad the score gets. It gives us a lot of confidence to be down that much and come back. We just kept chipping away.”
The Fillies had to shift their lineup slightly for the morning match Saturday, but still came out swinging against Sidney.
Behind the solid outside attack of Welch and Larsen, the Fillies quickly pulled away in game one, winning 25-9.
“We wanted to get started early,” Bower said. “Once we got the moment we wanted to keep going with it and not let up.”
Game two was the closest of the match, with Sidney doing a better job of hanging with the Fillies. However, Cody gradually pulled away to win 25-17.
“I told them to focus on doing your job and don’t play outside yourself,” Birch said.
The third set was much of the same, Cody jumped to a 6-1 lead and went on a 13-0 run to go up 19-2. The Fillies subbed in some of its younger girls late and the Eagles scored five points in a row before Cody closed out the set to win 25-11.
“The first day we had quite a few missed serves so we concentrated on that,” Bower said. “(Sidney) tips a lot so we were ready for that and didn’t let it drop.”
As they had the entire tournament, the Fillies started strong later in the day against Laurel and won the first set 25-20.
Laurel came out with more intensity in the second set and kept it close. Down 21-18 late, the Fillies scored two in a row to pull within one but wouldn’t get any closer as the Locomotives took the second set 25-21.
“They came out very loud,” Bower said. “They played well and were more aggressive.”
Cody started strong in the third set, jumping ahead 5-1 after two kills by Welch and an ace by Schroeder. Laurel tied the match at five though and the teams kept it close, tying it five times before Laurel pulled ahead 20-18. The Locomotives maintained the slight edge until late, when a kill by Welch tied it at 22. It was tied again at 23 before a Laurel passing error and Welch kill gave Cody the 25-23 win.
The fourth set was back and forth before Cody gained some momentum and went up 15-10. Laurel hung around, tying it at 17, 18, 20 and 21. A missed serve by the Locomotives and kill by Welch made it 23-21 Cody. Larsen then had an ace to set up game point and the Fillies won 25-21.
“The last one was loud and there was a lot of energy,” Birch said. “Laurel gave us their best game and it was good to see that.”
The Fillies travel to Red Lodge on Thursday and host Green River at 3 p.m. Saturday.