By KATIE BROWN
The Daily Inter Lake
Round two and the season series sweep goes to the Flathead Bravettes spikers, who defeated the host and rival Glacier Wolfpack 18-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-19 on Thursday in Western AA volleyball play.
Not everything came easy for fourth-ranked Flathead (12-8 overall, 6-2 conference), however. Each time it seemed like the Bravettes were starting find a rhythm, the Wolfpack came growling back.
“I expected them to come out with everything firing tonight,” Flathead coach Nicole Fairclough said. “Both sides, we had to fight and there weren’t many easy points.”
The first set belonged to Glacier (5-11, 1-4), who got off to an 8-6 lead early and won 25-18.
Fairclough said Flathead was experiencing some trouble with blocks, which was initially frustrating, but compensated with tougher serves to force Glacier into playing Flathead’s style.
“They came out swinging tonight and really challenged us at the net,” she said. “We struggled with our block, which is usually something consistent so it was good to see that we picked it up in other areas to kind of make up for our struggle at the net a little bit.”
At the net Julia Burden and Taylor Henley were strong for Flathead, with 18 and 16 kills, respectively. Sierra Wilhelm recorded 37 of 39 set assists and 12 digs. Madde Boles served four of Flathead’s seven aces.
Flathead started to find some ground in the second set and led 5-2 early. Glacier came roaring back and came close to tying it up. Some of that momentum spilled over to a third set that saw Flathead get off to 14-7 lead that Glacier kept chipping away, but a Boles kill sealed the deal for Flathead, who entered the fourth game leading 2-1.
In the fourth set, the Bravettes were determined to not allow Glacier to push the match to five sets. They won 25-19, leading the whole way.
“That’s what I expect out of crosstown,” Fairclough said. “I was really happy and proud of our girls that we got it done in four and had more discipline and didn’t waver as much like we did in that first crosstown matchup.”
Flathead’s focus grew as the match progressed. In timeouts and in between sets, Fairclough told the team they “have everything that you need in order to win this match.
“You’re not gonna win every point. but if you put everything you’ve got into every point, it’s gonna turn out in our favor. I really tried to just get them fired up and get them to keep thinking about what’s coming and not get stuck on what’s just happened.”
For Glacier, Kali Gulick led at the net with 22 kills and added four blocks. Kaylee Fritz had 40 of 42 set assists, and Emma Anderson had four blocks and two service aces.
Assists – Flathead 39 (Sierra Wilhelm 37), Glacier 42 (Kaylee Fritz 40); Kills – Flathead 43 (Julia Burden 18, Taylor Henley 16), Glacier 47 (Kali Gulick 22); Digs – Flathead 60 (Maddie Lindbom 14, Wilhelm 12), Glacier 71 (Maddie Johnson 21); Blocks – Flathead 4 (Hannah O’Dell 3), Glacier 9 (Aubrie Rademacher 4, Emma Anderson 4, K. Gulick 4); Aces – Flathead 7 (Madde Boles 4), Glacier 4 (Anderson 2)