GILLETTE, Wyo. — Stepping out of state for the weekend, the Gering and Scottsbluff volleyball teams both compiled 3-3 marks during a tournament held Friday and Saturday in Gillette, Wyoming.
Gering improved its season record to 5-3. After going 1-2 during Friday’s action, the Bulldogs bounced back to go 2-1 on Saturday. Gering rallied past Green River 22-25, 25-18, 25-22 and edged St. Thomas More 25-17, 22-25, 25-23. The Bulldogs nearly enjoyed a perfect finish to the tournament, but dropped a 28-26 third set in a tight setback to Cheyenne Central.
“It was a really great tournament,” Gering head coach Amanda Cochran said. “We the exception of our game against Casper Kelly Walsh, we went three sets against everyone else. I felt each game we played was a completely even matchup and we were in every game. We know we still have lots to work on, but it was a really great weekend of volleyball. It was fun to see them play at such a high level already.”
Senior outside hitter Elli Winkler was one of the Bulldogs who enjoyed a standout performance throughout the weekend tournament. She was rewarded for her efforts on Monday when she was named the MaxPreps/AVCA Player of the Week for the state of Nebraska.
In the victory over Green River on Saturday, Winkler put down 19 kills to pace the Bulldogs in hitting. Macey Boggs finished with a double-double of 26 assists and 13 digs. Boggs also served a team-high five aces. Zoee Smith led Gering defensively with 26 digs. Kennie McFarland added 13 digs.
Boggs tallied another double-double in the win over St. Thomas More. She finished with 23 assists and 12 digs. Boggs also fired three aces. Winkler led Gering offensively with 12 kills. Emily Harrison followed with eight kills and totaled a team-high five blocks. Smith recorded 23 digs.
Gering’s lone win on Friday was a three setter over Wright. Winkler led the Bulldogs with a double-double of 15 kills and 11 digs. Boggs handed out 35 assists, while Smith finished with a team-high 29 digs. McFarland added 12 digs. Smith and McFarland both served a pair of aces. Kyla Knight finished the match with six kills and six total blocks.
“We showed lots of growth and some of our underclassmen are coming right along,” Cochran said. “These girls are hard workers and they work hard at everything you ask of them. We have exceptional leaders. The upperclassmen are really bringing the underclassmen along and teaching them the right ways to do things on and off the court.”
Gering will host North Platte on Tuesday. The Class A Bulldogs will bring a record of 2-6 into action.
“They’re going to come out swinging like they always do,” Cochran said of North Platte. “They’re going to play great defense. We just have to try and pick them apart with where we’re hitting, play smart and attack.”
Scottsbluff also split its six matches over the weekend in Gillette. The Bearcats earned a 23-25, 25-22, 25-17 win over Glenrock, beat Burns 24-26, 25-19, 25-17 and swept Wheatland 25-13, 25-11.
Emma Foote put down 12 kills to lead the Bearcats against Glenrock. She also served three aces and had seven assists. Gracee Michael handed out 11 assists. Shelby Bewley finished with a team-high 15 digs and served three aces. Also for the Bearcats, Izzy Wright recorded 11 digs and Emma Herman totaled four blocks.
The victories were the first for Scottsbluff under first-year head coach Leslie Foral, who said the Bearcats played a lot of solid volleyball throughout the tournament.
“Any time you can get that amount of games in that short amount of time it’s always nice because playing games is when you see the most growth,” Foral said. “We moved some girls around and tried some different things just to see how they might look in the future. A lot of girls are definitely stepping up.”
The Bearcats, who are now 3-5 on the season, will travel to Cheyenne on Tuesday to face Cheyenne East. Scottsbluff will then host Cheyenne Central on Thursday.
Foral hopes to continue seeing positive strides taken by her squad.
“I feel like as a team the chemistry is really starting to come together,” she said. “I’ve already seen improvement in the way we’re communicating out on the court. I’m looking forward to continually seeing it get better throughout the season.”