The Sidney volleyball team went 3-0 Saturday, Oct. 5 to claim the Twin City Invite championship.

Sidney defeated Grand Island Northwest 22-25, 25-19, 25-19 in their first match of the day. The Red Raiders claimed a 25-22, 25-14 win over Rapid City Central and dropped Thunder Basin of Gillette, Wyoming, in the championship match with scores of 25-19, 25-27, 25-17.

Chadron finished third in the gold bracket. In the silver bracket, North Platte took first, followed by Alliance in second and Lexington took third.

Gering went 0-3 on Saturday in the gold bracket.

Gering coach Amanda Cochran said her team continued to play well, despite the record in day two of the tournament.

“They played pretty well today,” she said. “We had a lot of really great plays throughout the three games today. We took Ogallala to three sets. We took Thunder Basin, which is one of the top teams in Wyoming, to three sets. We know we can play with some of the top teams. So, that’s a great realization for this team to know they can play with really great teams, and even take sets from them. That was a big thing for us.”

Cochran said there are just some litle things her team can improve upon.

“I think just consistency through the entire game. We’d make little mistakes here and there that we need to alleviate, like a missed serve or hit it out of bounds. We need to play consistent over and in the court every single time. That will get us to a little bit higher level of play,” she said.

Overall, Cochran said her team is starting to play some of its best volleyball of the season.

“They work really had. I love these girls,” Cochran said. “They give effort every day. We know that there is more. We know that once we have our girls all running at the same time that’s going to be a really good deal. We’re just starting to talk about consistency and mental toughness. How you respond when you make an error, and how all of that comes into play in the big picture of the match.

“I think the big takeaway for us is they now know they are capable of very high level of play. They know that will rally as long as it takes to win a point. They’re not afraid to work really hard. We know we have things to work on. They now have seen they can play with the top teams.”

Scottsbluff finished the second day of the tournament with a record of 1-2 in the silver bracket. Bearcat coach Leslie Foral said she was pleased with what she saw in her team’s play.

“This is probably the most consistent our team has played throughout the season. So, that is encouraging. Yet, we’re still going through the same battle of winning those close ones. I thought the girls did well overall. It was tough to finish the tournament on a low note,” Foral said.

Scottsbluff dropped McCook in their first match, 23-25, 25-23 and 25-13.

The Bearcats weren’t able to keep the momentum going, falling to Alliance, 26-28, 24-26 in a hard-fought match.

“Alliance is a great team. We know it. It’s just a mental thing of getting over that hump of competing with those tough teams and being right there with them at the end. And, actually believing that we can win. We get down the stretch and we’re right there. We just haven’t quite figured out a way to pull those tight ones out,” Foral said.

“We are at a tough point right now. I have a couple starters battling injuries. We threw out a different rotation. The girls that came in from the bench did really well. I don’t think they were used to the chemistry.”

Scottsbluff then fell in two sets to Lexington, 22-25, 19-25.

“Lexington wasn’t as tall as we’re used to,” she said. “I don’t know if somehow we overlooked them. I knew from watching them play North Platte they were a tough team. They had strong hitters. They played great defense. The only thing they may have been lacking was just the height. It was a frustrating point for me as a coach, seeing that we are not mentally in it. We had all of the physical capabilities, we just couldn’t find a way mentally to pull it out.”

Foral said she feels like her team may turn the corner any game now.

“I think the girls are just getting used to playing together. Our chemistry is clicking right now. We’re just still fighting that battle of finding that mentality of knowing that we are so close, but we just haven’t quite finished those games like we could,” she said. “As a coach, it’s encouraging. We still have at least 15 games left to play on our season. It’s encouraging that we haven’t quite hit our peak Yet, and we still have a lot of games yet to play. I feel like we’re just starting to click. I’m looking forward to the game where it all comes together and we pull out one of those tight ones. I think once we do, it will be downhill from there.

Gering and Scottsbluff will be back in action on Tuesday, Oct. 8. Gering travels to Alliance to take on the Bulldogs. Scottsbluff will travel to Bridgeport.

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Jeff Van Patten is the sports editor of the Star-Herald. Jeff can be reached by calling 308-632-9050 or emailing jeff.vanpatten@starherald.com.

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