A State of Mind

Photo by John Hanson Jill Purcell gets a kill past Forsyth.

It was always going to be difficult for any team to emulate four straight state final appearances and those epic battles with the cyberborgs of Huntley but this Rans transitional team came close. As coach said The Red Lodge Rams volleyball team missed out of making it five finals in a row, when they went 1-2 for losses at the State Class B tournament at MSU-Bozeman. Despite dispatching Fairfield 25-22, 25-17, 25-20 in their opener, the Rams could not sustain the run losing to Forsyth in the quarterfinals to face Choteau in the loser out game on Friday. The Rams fought back with everything they had at one points leading Choteau 2 sets to 1 but the killer blow of narrowly losing the 4th sets, pushed the teams into a tie breaker and with Choteau on the upward swing, they pipped Red Lodge by 3 points. The scores were: 25-14, 22-25, 16-25, 26-24, 15-12. For Red Lodge, Jill Purcell, Rylee Kane and Daniella Russell shared all 46 kills, Natalie Hilderman came up with another 100 percent record for assists, 41, and Purcell and Kane got over half of the 14 aces. Kane, Hannah Kohley and Russell took a large slice of the 103 digs while Russell, Kane and Kohley secured most of the blocks. Rams coach Darcy Stracke said she was “very proud” of the team and “surpassed everyone’s expectations.” “We lost some key players last year and have some young kids, so we are rebuilding,” she said. “We were so close to getting into the top three and I think if we had, we’d have done some damage.” She praised the outgoing players such as Rylee Kane, Hanna Kohley and Isabella Martin and looked forward to the future with players like Jill Purcell, Daniella Russell and Natalie Hilderman. “Three of the four coming back made All Conference,” said Stracke.