Maidens counter with home win over Pirates

by John Heglie, special for the Leader
| October 6, 2020 4:35 PM

Polson and Ronan volleyball teams parried and parlayed with precision in their seesaw second round Rez rivalry wrangle at the Ronan Events Center on Friday.

The opening set featured 11 ties up through 15-all before the Maidens started to gain some separation. A Rylie Lindquist ace pushed Ronan's advantage to 20-16, precipitating a Polson timeout. The Lady Pirates three times closed to within two, but the Maidens were able to close out the set.

The second set featured five early ties before Polson strung together a little run, precipitating a Ronan timeout. The Maidens then knotted the contest even at 8-all.

Polson strung together a small run capped by a Liz Tolley kill that extended their lead to 20-16. But Ronan countered with a Leina Ulutoa block coupled with some Lady Pirate trajectory malfunctions that knotted the contest up once again at 20 apiece. The set was tied five more times before a net violation capped by a Hallie Moss service ace evened the match for the Lady Pirates at one apiece.

Ronan cobbled together a handful of points to edge ahead in the third set. Polson pulled to within 8-9, but a string of attack errors put them in the hole, trailing by five at 8-13. Back-to-back Maiden kills by Adriana Tutukivei and Madeline McCrea forced the Lady Pirates to burn a timeout in an effort to splash cold water on the momentum shift, now trailing 11-16. The Maidens placed an exclamation point on the set with back-to-back Olivia Clairmont kills for a 2-1 advantage.

The Lady Pirates jumped out of the gate at the start of the fourth set with four straight. A Kobbey Smith service ace had Polson very much behind the wheel in the driver's seat at 10-2.

The momentum at that juncture looked very much like this contest was heading to a fifth set finale. But the Maidens came roaring back, stringing together 10 straight points, including a handful of Leina Ulutoa service aces. Ronan tied it up, then took the lead 10-12, forcing a Polson timeout.

After a McCrea tip kill extended the Ronan lead to three, Polson countered to tie at 13 apiece, then retook the lead with a string of Hallie Moss and Maggie Todd spikes for an 18-13 edge. The Lady Pirates had the pivotal match in their favor 22-18 after a Mckenna Hanson kill. But a pair of attack errors cut their advantage in half.

The Maidens closed to within one, 22-21 after a Tutukivei service ace. But two more points had the Lady Pirates at the threshold of evening the sets at two apiece after an ace of their own by Kobbey Smith.

Maiden Madeline McCrea produced a kill and a block and pulled Ronan back within one. Then a strategic trajectory malfunction by the Lady Pirates evened the set at 24 apiece.

The Lady Pirate defense was set for a tussle over the last few points, but McCrea and LaReina Cordova redirected the trajectory of balls heading over the net with lefty redirection tips that delivered the set and the match into the hands of the Maidens.

After the match had wrapped, a handful of Pacific Islander adults in attendance made good on a bet that if the Maidens won, they would perform the Haka (New Zealand)/Siva Tau (Samoa), a colorfully choreographed war dance characteristic among their cultures, much to the delight of the lingering remnants of those in attendance.

The Lady Pirates will have already played Whitefish at their Dawg Pound on Tuesday before hosting Stevensville for their Homecoming match on Thursday. The Maidens have a bye week.

Ronan def. Polson 3-1

Ronan (4-3, 6-5), Polson (4-3, 6-3)

Ronan def. Polson 25-21, 26-28, 25-14, 26-24

KILLS – P38 (Maggie Todd 13, Hallie Moss 12, Kobbey Smith 7, Liz Tolley 4, Mckenna Hanson, Turquoise Pierre), R32 (Madeline McCrea 13, Olivia Clairmont 8, Ry 4, Adri 3, LaReina Cordova 3, L.Ulutoa). ACES – P10 (Kobb 3, Mags 2, Berk 2, Chloe DuCharme, Ara, Hallie), R8 (Leina 3, Adri Tutukivei 2, Kylie Fetui, Ry, M&M). ASSISTS – P37 (Berkley Ellis 18, Hallie 15, Liz 2, Kobb, Mags), R30 (Leina Ulutoa 30). BLOCKS – P3 (Mags, Liz, Kenna), R11 (M&M 5bs3ba, Leina 1bs1ba, Ry 1bs1ba, LaReina 2ba, Liv 1ba). DIGS – P57 (Ara Mercer 12, Mags 12, Berk 12, Kobb 10, Hallie 7, Turq 2, Liz, Chloe), R74 (Rylie Lindquist 14, Leina 11, M&M 9, Liv 7, Katie 7, Kylie 7, Lexi Wirz 6, Adri 5, Hannah Rowe 3, Margaret Cordova 3, LaReina 2). (Fr02Oct20)


Bob Gunderson

The Maidens celebrate their home victory over Polson. (Bob Gunderson)