Hot Springs High School got its varsity volleyball season off to a solid start, playing four matches in the Drummond Tournament last Saturday.
The Lady Savage Heat won three of six sets in pool play, and that was enough to get them into the single-elimination bracket play.
Seeded No. 8, Hot Springs went up against top-seeded Charlo in the first round of the bracket, and Charlo advanced with a hard-earned 15-11, 15-11 victory.
Hot Springs opened with a split against Valley Christian, winning the first set 15-9 and losing the second, 15-10. The Lady Savage Heat swept Seeley Lake 15-10, 15-13 before being swept by Arlee, 15-11, 15-10.
As indicated by the scores, all eight of Hot Springs’ games were closely contested.
“All the teams were really neck-and-neck,” Lady Savage Heat head coach Alisha Pablo said.
“I’m very pleased with how they played. We’re pretty young still,” Pablo said, and she had only one player on the bench to serve as a substitute.
The coach was elated with the intensity shown by the Lady Savage Heat in the first game of the season.
“They came out on fire, very much pumped for the tournament,” Pablo said. “It was good to get that win (over Valley Christian) under their belt.”
That intensity carried through the entire tourney for Hot Springs.
“They just played well together. They were passing really well,” Pablo said.
In crucial back-row play, Sage Jackson and Savannah Roosma led the way. They consistently got the ball on target to junior setter Sydney Jackson.
Against Seeley, “Our freshman really came on in that game,” Pablo said, speaking of 5-foot-8 Katelyn Christensen, getting an early block and kill for the Lady Savage Heat. “She can jump.”
Pablo said Hot Springs’ net play was starting to come on stronger, led by 5-10 middle hitter McKennzie Cannon.
There were 16 teams in the Drummond Tournament, and only the top eight — by points — advanced to bracket play.
Pablo was pleased with Hot Springs’ conditioning in the season-opening action.
“They held up really well,” she said.
Pablo indicated that 6-foot junior Brianna Gray, who is recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, would remain out of action for two to three more weeks.
Hot Springs has two junior varsity and varsity matches each this week, leading into the vacant Labor Day weekend. The Lady Savage Heat hosted rival Plains on Tuesday, and plays at St. Regis on Thursday. At St. Regis, match times are 5:30 p.m. for JV and approximately 7 p.m. for varsity.
Statistics for Hot Springs in the matches during the Drummond Tournament, with team totals and leaders:
vs. Valley Christian
Aces – 6 (Lizzy Fisher 3). Assists – 6 (Sydney Jackson 5). Blocks – 1 (McKennzie Cannon). Kills – 6 (Katelyn Christensen 2). Digs – 13 (Sage Jackson 4).
vs. Seeley Lake
Aces – 1 (Sydney Jackson). Assists – 10 (Sydney Jackson 8). Blocks – 6 (Christensen 5). Kills – 11 (Christensen 3, Fisher 3). Digs – 23 (Sage Jackson 11).
Aces – 1 (Sydney Jackson). Assists – 9 (Sydney Jackson 8). Blocks – 0. Kills – 11 (Cannon 4). Digs – 19 (Sydney Jackson 5).
Aces – 1 (Savannah Roosma). Assists – 9 (Sydney Jackson 8). Blocks – 2 (Christensen 1, Cannon 1). Kills – 10 (Christensen 4). Digs – 17 (Sage Jackson 5).