The Twin City Invite kicked off on Friday with 16 schools competing in four different gymnasiums at Scottsbluff and Gering High School. The White Pool and Red Pool were played at Scottsbluff High School in the main and auxillary gyms, while the Blue and Gold were played at Gering High School’s main and auxillary gyms.
The White Pool at Scottsbluff included teams such as Scottsbluff, Ogallala, McCook and Rapid City Stevens, South Dakota, while Sidney, Torrington, Wyoming, Spearfish, South Dakota and Grand Island Northwest took part in the Red Pool in the auxillary gym.
Gering hosted the Blue Pool in the main gym with Chadron, Rapid City Central, South Dakota, and Lexington, while Thunder Basin (Gillette, Wyoming), North Platte, Burns, Wyoming and Alliance matched up in the auxillary gym.
Gering defeated Lexington 25-17, 25-15 in its firs game of the tournament.
“We had a couple games where we were in a slump. The Lexington game was good for us to get out of that slump,” Amanda Cochran, Gering’s volleyball coach, said. It felt really good on our side of the net.”
Gering fell 25-19, 25-19 to Chadron in their second game.
“We played Chadron closer than we did earlier in the season,” Cochran said. “We played great defense. It was a knockout game.
“We just felt like we were playing well again. (Chadron is) a great team. It was fun to play them. It’s great to feel good again.”
Cochran said her team came out and played well against Rapid City Central. Gering defeated Rapid City Central 15-25, 25-17, 25-22.
“Rapid City Central was offensively bringing a lot of heat,” Cochran said. “We worked really had on coming on aggressively. We talked about eliminating the mistakes. Our girls played great today.”
Scottsbluff finished the day going 1-2 with a three-set loss to Ogallala, 17-25, 25-17, 18-25, and Stevens, 9-25, 17-25. But winning the nightcap over McCook 25-20, 23-25, 25-20. Today’s matches will carry over to Saturday where the Bearcats will begin play again on their home floor.
Scottsbluff head coach Leslie Foral said it was good to get the win in Scottsbluff’s final match of the night over the Bison in three sets.
“I was pleased with our girls because they never let up. They just kept grinding it out and it was good to walk away with the W,” she said. “Kudos to McCook because they fight hard. Going into the match, I told them (McCook) may not be the strongest hitting team, but they’re scrappy. Their defense is there. I even knew going into the second set not to overlook them because they are going to come out swinging and they’re going to come out aggressive. They never let up and that was a great job for them.”
The Bearcats will try to bounce back on Saturday and build off the win over McCook and although her team finished with the two losses on Friday, Foral believes they will come into the second day of the tournament with some momentum.
“Today has been kind of like our season. We have really great moments followed by some mental lapses,” she said. “I thought they were doing a lot better. They are starting to kind of do some defensive things that I’m asking and it’s kind of nice because at any point I can look to my bench and send someone else in just to give our opponent a different look. To give them something else to focus on. But I thought anybody I put on the floor tonight did a great job.”
Sidney, rated No. 5 in Class B (Omaha World Herald) finished the day going 3-0 with wins over Torrington (25-19, 25-15), Spearfish (25-9, 25-14), and Northwest (26-28). In other matches from Scottsbluff High School, Stevens went 3-0, Ogallala went 2-1, Spearfish went 1-2, McCook went 0-3, Torrington went 0-3, and Northwest finished 2-1.
Scottsbluff athletic director Dave Hoxworth was pleased with how well the first day of the tournament went and said the fans were treated to some very good volleyball.
“We’ve had a few three-setters and seen some good volleyball,” he said. “We love this tournament and this year we were able to expand it to 16 teams, so we’re excited about having two brackets tomorrow. We’ll have a Gold bracket and a Silver bracket so, we’re in good shape.”
Foral echoed Hoxworth’s praise for the competitiveness of the tournament and said it was good for her players to be able to experience the different flavors and styles of volleyball in the tournament.
“It’s nice for us because we get so many games in a short amount of time. And then there are also so many good teams here that you can kind of watch and take away from,” Foral said. “It’s a great experience for our girls because even during those games we had off, the girls were in the gym watching to see what teams did and using that to help us focus when we played them.
It’s kind of fun to see the different defenses. To see how they rotate, where they place girls,” she added. “Maybe on offense they might have a girl play outside and then she swings middle and then she might swing right side. So, it’s kind of fun to watch the different teams. It’s also really nice to see different teams because we get used to playing here in the Panhandle against the same teams over and over again, so it’s kind of nice to get a different look.”
Saturday’s Gold bracket at Gering High School will feature top-seed Rapid City Stevens facing No. 8 seed Rapid City Central at 9 a.m. in the main gym, while No. 4 seed Sidney will play No. 5 Northwest at 9 a.m. in the auxillary gym. No. 3 Thunder Basin will follow against No. 6 Gering in the Auxillary gym at 10 a.m., while No. 2 Chadron will take on No. 7 Ogallala in the main gym at 10 a.m.
The Silver bracket at Scottsbluff will showcase top-seed Scottsbluff in a re-match with No. 8 McCook at 9 a.m. in the main gym, while No. 4 Burns will play No. 5 Alliance at the same time in the auxillary gym. No. 3 Lexington will take on No. 6 Spearfish at 10 a.m. in the auxillary gym, and No. 2 North Platte will face No. 7 Torrington in the main gym at 10 a.m.
At Scottsbluff High School
Ogallala over Scottsbluff, 25-17,17-25, 25-18.
Stevens over McCook, 25-13, 25-8.
Ogallala over McCook, 26-24, 25-17.
Stevens over Scottsbluff, 25-17, 25-9.
Scottsbluff over McCook, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20.
Stevens over Ogallala, 25-9, 26-24.
Sidney over Spearfish, 25-9, 25-14.
Northwest over Torrington, 25-19, 25-9.
Sidney over Torrington, 25-19, 25-15.
Northwest over Spearfish, 26-16, 25-17.
Spearfish over Torrington, 25-20, 19-25, 25-21.
Sidney over Northwest, 26-28, 25-14, 25-21.
At Gering High School
Chadron over Rapid City Central, 25-19, 25-12.
Gering over Lexington, 25-17, 25-15.
Chadron over Gering, 25-19, 25-19.
Rapid City Central over Lexington, 25-15, 25-22.
Gering over Rapid City Central, 15-25, 25-17, 25-22.
Chadron over Lexington, 25-19, 25-15.
Thunder Basin over North Platte, 25-23, 25-23.
Burns over Alliance, 27-25, 25-20.
Thunder Basin over Burns, 25-16, 25-10.
Alliance over North Platte, 25-23, 26-24.
North Platte over Burns, 25-11, 25-9.
Thunder Basin over Alliance, 25-15, 25-16.