Lady Rebels top the competition at Big Horn Invitational tournament

Marlys Good

For the second consecutive week, the Lady Rebels topped all competitors at an invitational volleyball tournament.

This time it was the Big Horn Invitational where the teams included Lusk, Wright and Upton; teams the Rebels don’t usually see until the state matches in Casper.

The Rebels went through the two-days unscathed, ending up Saturday undefeated, a perfect 6-0 weekend.

In pool play the Rebels went 3-0 with consecutive victories over Wright 25-17, 25-14; Greybull 25-15, 25-14; and Lusk 25-14. 25-16.

This put them into the top bracket for Saturday’s matches.

First up was Upton, whom the Rebels dispatched, 25-16, 25-7.

The competition got tougher as the day progressed. The Lady Rams put up a strong fight but fell in the semifinal in a tight match, 25-20, 25-22.

Facing Wright for the second time in two days, the Rebels played well and won the title in an exciting match, 26-24, 25-19.

“It was another opportunity for the team and program. It was nice to see teams on the other side of the state prior to post season play,” said Coach Cindi Smith.

“We were excited to come out on top, but we know we have to stay focused on improving each week so we are playing our best ball at the end of the season.”

Lady Rebel Vaidyn VanderPloeg said, “We really came together as a team; I’m excited to see where this season takes us. I think we still have some improving to do, but we are really growing each and every day as teammates and friends.”

During the two-day tournament the Rebels served 89 percent, had 58 aces, 114 kills and 315 digs.

Individual leaders included:

From the line, Hailee McClure at 100 percent and VanderPloeg at 98.5 percent.

Vinaya VanderPloeg had 16 aces, Vaidyn had nine.

Caroline Schlattmann topped the “kill” charts with 50; Vinaya had 21 and Vaidyn 19.

Braelyn Kozisek was credited with 93 assists.

Schlattmann had 48 digs, Vaidyn, 40 and Laila Davis, 24.

“Our team continues to work hard, learning and growing together. We embrace each other’s strengths focused on what is best for the team. We (the coaching staff) cannot say enough about this group of girls. Thy are so fun to coach.”

Smith said they are focusing on serve receive and defense. “Our block has grown a lot and they are doing a better job taking care of the first line of defense, making it easier for the back row to dig balls.”

The Rebels open conference play Friday. They will host the Rocky Mountain Lady Grizzlies at 4/5/6 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 21, Riverside hosts their rivals from the north, the Lady Buff from Greybull. Matches start at 4 p.m. JV is at 5 and varsity at 6.