FORT PIERRE - The recent improvement of the Stanley County Lady Buffs has finally shown results as they earned their first victory of the season Thursday.
The Lady Buffs first win didn't come easy against Jones County, as Stanley County won 25-9, 17-25, 26-24 and 26-24.
The Lady Buffs came out and set an early tone with a dominating first set. Two early attacks by Nicole Smith gave the Lady Buffs a 4-1 lead, a lead which the Lady Buffs would not relinquish.
Chris Mangan | Capital Journal
Stanley County's Shelby G. hits a kill around the Jones County defender in the second game of the Lady Buffaloes four set victory over the Lady Coyotes at
The Lady Buffs did not lose the lead due to a flurry of aces. Shelby Gienger contributed to the aces with three early in the set, giving the Lady Buffs a 14-3 advantage.
The aces continued as Kelly Sweetman and Jenny Ganske each added two on the Lady Buffs way to a 25-9 victory in the first set.
"Our girls came out ready to go and stayed aggressive throughout the first set. They were ready to go, I could see it in their eyes that they were determined to get a win tonight," Stanley County coach Kylie Mundt said.
The Lady Buffs nearly squandered their first victory of the season when they came out flat for the second set. Seemingly within the blink of an eye, Stanley County dug itself into a 14-4 deficit.
The Lady Buffs did fight back, scoring nine out of the next 11 points. Stanley County's rally was too little, too late though as Jones County would even the score with a 25-17 victory.
The third set may have been the game changing set as both teams went on scoring runs, creating a nail-biting finish.
The Lady Buffs took an 8-3 lead after an impressive bump by Shantel Norman. The lead was short lived as Jones County would later answer with seven consecutive points to tie the set.
Jones County had another scoring run in them when they tied the set at 21 with a seven point run. Jones County eventually took a 24-22 lead.
One point away from a back-breaking loss, Gienger came up big for the Lady Buffs with two clutch attacks to spark a four-point run to complete the comeback and give the Lady Buffs the tie-breaking set.
"We dug ourselves in a hole but the girls were determined to come out and get a win and they did whatever it took to come out on top," Mundt said.
The Lady Buffs needed another comeback effort in the fourth set, despite carrying the momentum of the third set into an early 7-1 lead.
Trailing 9-2, the Coyotes scored 13 consecutive points to take the lead. Stanley County continued to battle though and eventually a service error by Jones County and another ace by Sweetman were part of a five-point run which tied the set.
"It was just about refocusing and regrouping. We kind of got less aggressive at the net and for our team that doesn't work," Mundt said.
Sweetman continued to collect aces, as she added two more to give the Lady Buffs a late 22-21 lead.
"Our serving has improved so much from the beginning of the season. Kelly has gotten more consistent and as the other team's confidence decreases she has gotten more aggressive," Mundt said.
Stanley County took advantage of two Jones County errors to take a 26-24 victory in the set and win its first game of the season.
"The girls now know that they can win and I think that they will continue to have this mentality that they will play their butts off and get more wins," Mundt said.
Gienger led the Lady Buffs with 42 digs, eight aces and seven kills. Shantel Norman also had 42 digs and Sweetman had eight aces.
The Lady Buffs will get a good test in hopes of getting their second win of the season as they take part in the Big Dakota Conference tournament Saturday.
"We open up with the No. 1 team in the conference, but I think these girls now understand that anything can happen," Mundt said.
The Big Dakota Conference will take place in Fort Pierre beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. Stanley County's first contest will be against Mobridge.