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Bridger girls collect another trophy as they pick up 2nd at State

By: 
John Hanson
Special to the News
Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Photo by John Hanson
The Bridger girls with their 2nd place State C volleyball trophy.

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Photo by Robin Smith
Emily Adkins digs out for Bridger.

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Photo by Robin Smith
Jenna Kallevig, Bridger, beats her marker against Manhattan Christian.

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Photo by Robin Smith
Kyndra Reichart, gets a kill for Bridger.

The Lady Scouts fought a series of epic battles against Manhattan Christian for the State C volleyball crown cumulating in a 5 set thriller that saw Bridger come from 2 sets down to tie up the game only to fall in the decider. 

Bridger’s journey started with a routine victory against Westby-Grenora 25-23, 25-11, 25-16.

Against WG the girls achieved one ace courtesy of Jenna Kallevig who went on to take 12 kills and make 11 digs. 

Other notable performances came from Emily Adkins and Kallevig who provided the team with a further 30 kills, with Adkins making 18 of them as well as 10 assists with Kallevig also adding 11 digs to her 12 kills. 

Sam Fusco made 17 assists, Kyra Kroll 15 digs and Kyndra Reichert and Hope Buessing 3 blocks each. 

The next match was at 8 p.m. against Fort Benton, a storied in our state’s history, the end of the line for steamboats on the Missouri River and home to the faithful dog ‘Shep’ who met all the trains. How they came up with the team name of Longhorns might be an interesting tale. Bridger took the first set 25-17, the next was a bit more interesting, back and forth, good digging on both sides but at the end the Lady Scouts came out on top by a score of 28-26. A little nerve wracking for our loyal fans. In the final match Bridger regained control and came out with a 25-20 win. 

Adkins added another 14 to her kills while Kallevig made 2 blocks and 3 aces along with Adkins and Buessing. Fusco led in assists with 18 and also made 2 blocks. 

Kroll followed up with 25 digs. 

The girls would have to wait until Friday at 6 p.m. to play in the undefeated semi finals. This was a welcome break, sleep-in, goof off, eat, go to the mall, all the things that young ladies enjoy doing. 

The Manhattan Christian Eagles were up next…a very good team. We had played them last year at State. As one experienced onlooker said, “It is fitting, they are the two best in Class C.” That observation proved to be right on the money. 

Volleyball is a game of momentum and it seems to shift back and forth between teams. A very close match is followed by a rout, there seems to be no rhyme or reason. 

Our meetings with the Eagles followed the dictum.  Set one went to Bridger 25-20, the second was all Christian with a score of 25-12, the third was a see-saw battle, with Manhattan edging the Scouts 25-23. So they were up 2-1 and we had to have the next set…momentum swung back to the Scouts for a 25-13 win. The stage was set for a fifth match up, it is short game to only 15, so you have to get a fast start or it is “turn out the lights, the party's over!” Bridger found itself in the hole of 4-0, caught up, only to slip behind by another 4 points. 

The Lady Scouts then rallied and scored 11 points while holding Christian to 2. We had won 15-10. For players and fans there were a lot of smiles and tears. This had been an epic battle between two teams who had the skills and desires to win.  As one Bridger mom said, “I can’t take any more of this”, both stressful and enjoyable.  The numbers for this game revealed just how close it was:  Kills, saw Christian having the slight edge of 48-47, in the digs, the Scouts came out on top by 94-90.

 

For the record; 6 aces (Adkins 4); 47 kills (Adkins 24, Kallevig 12); 40 assists (Fusco 26); 9 blocks (Kallevig 3); 94 digs (Kroll 30, Kallevig 21.)

Just about everyone agreed that we would be meeting the Eagles on Saturday for the championship.  At noon the next day, saw that our guesses were right on the money. Again, we would play the Manhattan Christian Eagles. The tournament is a double elimination format, so if Christian wins the first game, there must be a second to determine the State Champs.  Game one started with the Eagles on top of the first set 18-25, the second was a disaster for the Lady Scouts, down at the start by a 0 to 12 score, they ended up losing 8-25.  

One of those sets that is better off forgotten. Time to regroup and start afresh.  In the third they came out ahead 25-22. Again down 2 to 1, we need the fourth,  the scouts jumped to an early lead, Christian came back and when all is said and done we had lost 23-25.

Again the stats: 10 aces (Adkins 5); 36 kills (Adkins 18, Kallevig 12); 33 assists (Fusco 18, Taycee Spidahl 9); 6 blocks (Adkins 5); 82 digs Kroll 23, Adkins 14, Dylann Pospisil 14.

On to a second game...by this time all of the other classes had or were finishing up their games. So we had the vast field house all to ourselves. By this time everyone was shell shocked and worn to a frazzle, let's just get this done and head home.  At the end of the first two matches, the Lady Scouts were down by two, this is not the outcome we were hoping for.  The Lady Scouts dug down deep and came up with pride and resolve.  They took the third and fourth matches 25-18 and 25-20.  My Goodness...here we go again...another short game, but this one for all of the marbles.  Both sides were not quite as crisp, this had been going on for over three hours.  Both squads arrived at 10 points each, five more for the gold.  Christian got the 15 while Bridger was at 12.  The team hustled 6 aces (Fusco 2, Adkins 2); 57 kills (Adkins 27, Kallevig 17); 51 assists (Fusco 29, Spidahl 11) 7 blocks (Adkins 3) and a whopping 123 digs (Kroll 46, Kallevig 21.)

Three points apart for an entire season, we should remember that there are hundreds of players in the state that would give their eye-teeth to be in Bridger’s shoes.  They never got to go to the “Big Dance” or experience the noise, and general chaos of State. Years from now...these girls will be telling their daughter and granddaughters the stories of:  “When we went to State”, a memory that will live on for their entire lives.

We can all look forward to next season...the Bridger Lady Scouts will return to Bozeman next year and most probably match up with Manhattan Christian for the title. We will lose four seniors, Maddie Dravetsky who came into her own this year, her hitting with authority from the corner.  Kyndra Reichart, a transfer from Hardin, stepped in at the net and gave a solid performance with her hitting and blocking.  Jordan Althoff helped in the back row to bolster a solid defense. Sami Fusco, our little giant, a solid setter and mean server, her energy and positive outlook on life will be missed.  Our juniors will ensure that next season will be bright, led by Emily Adkins...Em is the glue that held this team together, she does it all, the complete player...wouldn’t surprise me if she could also sing the national anthem. Jenna Kallevig is another player who shines in a variety of rolls. She is a mean hitter, great digger, with good situational awareness. Kyra Kroll is the libero and is expected to do a little digging, and digging she did, she raced around the back court like the roadrunner on a good day.  Hope Buessing had to step into the roll as middle blocker, one of the harder positions, but Hope made the adjustment and did a wonderful job...thanks Hope. Taycee Spidahl came off the bench and delivered some solid sets and connected for some awesome hits.  

The juniors who round out the squad are: Krista Campbell, Grace Aisenbrey, and Kourtnee Schill, they didn’t see much playing time at state, but are an essential component for the success of the team, watch the movie “Rudy” and you will see just how important these ladies are.  

Our freshman players give a renewed hope for the progams future. Dylann Pospisil shone as a server and played back row.  Mya Goltz will be seeing much more action come next year.  

Thanks to our new head coach Lena Kallevig and assistant Amy Goltz.  For a first year duo...you did yourselves proud.  

A big thanks to all how helped contribute to this wonderful year...the school admin, bus drivers, Moms and Dads and most of all to the fans. It was a great ride and next year will be even more fun... 

 

 

 

 

 

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