The Cody volleyball team has won a variety of ways so far this season and in Saturday’s game against Green River came a new one – pure determination.

The Fillies defeated Green River 3-1, having to overcome a serious injury to senior captain Emily Larsen in the first game. 

“We talk a lot about grit and fighting through adversity,” coach Stephanie Birch said. “They had to do that today and I’m super pleased.”

“I’m happy we were able to dig down deep and find the grit to go win for her,” senior Riley Welch added. “It’s tough to lose a player. I wish it was me so she could keep playing.”

Cody jumped out to a 10-3 lead in that game and things seemed to be rolling, with Riley Welch registering multiple kills early on. Then it was Larsen’s turn up front and on one of her kills she landed wrong and fell to the floor clutching her left knee. Unable to put any weight on it, she left the match. 

With a seven-point lead at that point the Fillies kept pulling away to win 25-15.

“We really focused on staying excited and keeping the intensity up,” Welch said. “We were mindful of the little things and that helped.”

Losing a key member of the team caught up to them in the second game. Welch and Larsen have formed a strong tandem on the left side this season so it took Cody a little while to find a rhythm with its younger players in different roles. 

The Fillies made multiple errors in the second game as they fell behind 15-9. Cody never could get back in it and lost 25-16.

“The team hurt for her and were in some roles they didn’t expect to be in,” Birch said.

Cody kept the third set close, but when the team fell behind 13-9 it looked like the game might go the way of the second set. Then Autumn Wilson got back-to-back kills and Cody came back to tie it at 13. After a tip a and kill by Welch made it 17-15, the Fillies slowly pulled away. A tip by Wilson, kill by Ally Schroeder and block by Brittan Bower and Schroeder made it game point. Grace Shaffer then had an ace to seal the game at 25-19.

“It was a tough situation for Autumn to come into,” Birch said. “But everyone played fabulous and did what they were supposed to do.”

The Fillies again fell behind in the fourth game and were trailing 11-7. They then went on a 6-0 run that included an ace by Reece Niemann to lead 13-11. Later, a push by Wilson, block by Bower and tip by Schroeder made it 16-13. Although Green River kept it close, Cody wouldn’t trail again and won the third set 25-22.

“We had to focus on doing the little things,” Welch said. “We focused on passing and one play at a time.”

On Thursday the Fillies traveled to Red Lodge and won 3-1.

“I definitely feel like we weren’t playing up to our level, especially at first,” Summer Holeman said. “We did improve over the course of the game, which allowed us to pull ahead and win, but I think it was good in the sense that we learned how much of a change we are capable of making in our play.”

Cody lost the first game 26-24, struggling to pass against Red Lodge’s strong serving.

In the second game Red Lodge continued to serve tough and Cody continued to struggle, but this time the Fillies pulled out a 28-26 win.

“The second game was pretty much exactly like the first game except we ended up on top,” Birch said. “Those close games can go either way and we got lucky that one.”

With the hard-earned victory, the momentum shifted to the Fillies, who won the third set easily 25-12

“We came back in the second set mainly because of our mindset,” Holeman said. “Steph had told us it would be a hard fight, and once we accepted the challenge we were able to turn it around. After that, we were able to play our style and focus on one play at a time.”

Cody won the final set 25-14.

“We got out on them early and played aggressively, which cause a lot of miscommunication for them,” Birch said. “They stopped playing with energy and we started playing with more energy.”

Stats were unavailable from the matches due to technical difficulties. 

Cody plays at Riverton on Tuesday.

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