Lady Buffs drop pair of heartbreakers

FORT PIERRE - While the Stanley County Lady Buffs couldn't earn their first victory of the season, the team showed improvement in resiliency in Tuesday's triangular with White River and Timber Lake.

Stanley County's first two set victories of the season weren't enough in the opening match with Timber Lake as the Lady Panthers took the contest 25-11, 20-25, 25-14, 28-30 and 15-8. Stanley County then battled with White River in another five set contest, losing 26-24, 25-17, 23-25, 26-24 and 15-10.

In the match up against White River, the Lady Buffs appeared destined for another three-set defeat against the Tigers after losing the first two sets. The Lady Buffs then showed the competitiveness and spark the team has been searching for early in the season.

Chris Mangan | Capital Journal
Stanley County’s  Madison H. and Hailey N. go up for a block in the second set of the Lady Buffaloes match against White River at Parkview Gymnasium on Tuesday. Stanley County fell in five sets to the Lady Tigers.

"After the second set, we just talked about how anything can happen and they just need to stay focused and aggressive," Stanley County coach Kylie Mundt said.The Lady Buffs did just that in the third set, despite White River jumping out to an early 10-7 lead.

After exchanging the lead a couple of times, Hailey Norman put the Lady Buffs in control with three aces, which gave them a 23-20 lead. Stanley County eventually finished the set off with a 25-23 win.

If Stanley County didn't prove its resiliency in the third set, they certainly did in the fourth after the Tigers had a couple of runs which would have buried the Lady Buffs only a week ago.

The Lady Buffs initially battled back from an early 8-3 deficit, White River quickly answered with five consecutive points. Nicole Smith then answered the run with two consecutive aces, sparking a 5-0 run for the Lady Buffs.

Six consecutive White River scores later, the Lady Buffs appeared destined for disappointment until they scored eight consecutive points to take the lead. Kelly Sweetman had one of her six aces during the streak.  The Lady Buffs showed killer instinct in the remaining moments of the set as Shelby Gienger won the match tying set 26-24 with an attack.

"We dug ourselves into holes and we fought back most of the time. Overall, I think that this is the team we will see the rest of the season," Mundt said.

Stanley County was unable to get its first win of the year after as the team fell victim to another White River run in the final set. With the score tied at 10, the Tigers scored five consecutive points to take the set 15-10 and the game.  In a losing effort, Gienger had nine kills to go along with 13 digs. Madison Hand had 21 assists.

The match up with White River was preceded by another strong effort by the Lady Buffs.

After the Lady Panthers took the first set in dominating fashion, the Lady Buffs quickly recovered to win their first set of the year in the second.  Holding on to a one-point lead, the Lady Buffs took control of the momentum with a five point run which was highlighted by an attack by Smith and two aces by Gienger.  Timber Lake battled back, but Stanley County was able to hang on 25-20 in the second set.

The third set was a struggle for the Lady Buffs as Gienger began the lead with an ace, but the Lady Panthers quickly took control of the set with a 12-2 run.  The Lady Buffs would never get within nine and Timber Lake took the set 25-14.

Stanley County once again quickly bounced back in the fourth set as it jumped out to an 8-5 lead after Hand's ace.  Timber Lake would not go away though as the two teams battled to a tie at 24. The two teams went back and forth until Stanley County took the set 30-28.

Just like the nightcap, Stanley County was unable to take the game clinching set as it dug itself in an 8-1 hole in the fifth set.  The Lady Buffs were unable to recover, losing the set 15-8. Although the Lady Buffs ended the night winless, Mundt is encouraged by their improvement.  "I thought they played outstanding tonight, they worked together as a team and competed," Mundt said. "With experience our girls will build confidence and realize that they can play with these teams."  Gienger had eight kills and seven aces in the loss. Hand also played well with five aces.

The Lady Buffs will look to continue to build momentum as the season continues with their first opportunity to do that coming Thursday. The Lady Buffs will compete in a triangular against Lyman and Philip in Philip beginning at 5 p.m.

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