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State volleyball: Douglas holds on, Worland, Rawlins, Pinedale also punch tickets
CLASS 3A

State volleyball: Douglas holds on, Worland, Rawlins, Pinedale also punch tickets

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State Volleyball douglas

Douglas' Kinley Johnson hits the ball over her head and over the net in the Bearcats' quarterfinal match against Lander during the Wyoming State High School Class 3A Volleyball Championships on Thursday at the Casper Events Center.

The most exciting of Thursday’s quaterfinals at Casper Events Center in the 2019 Wyoming State High School Class 3A Volleyball Championships started the action, with Douglas outlasting Lander in a five-set thriller (25-22, 24-26, 25-14, 21-25, 15-10).

Douglas, perennial power of 3A, marched out in front early to a 12-4 lead before Lander battled back. A kill by junior Allyson Fertig ultimately put that set away but the Tigers took momentum gained and used it for a dramatic second-set win.

Seasoned for tournament situations like that, the Bearcats kept their cool in the third set and pulled away. As Lander’s attention magnetized towards 6-foot-4 Fertig, in came the swings of outside hitter Joslin Igo. The talented junior delivered timely kills throughout the match, especially in the third set to help Douglas get back out ahead.

“She draws the double so I can slip outside and swing as hard as I can,” Igo said of her teamwork with Fertig. “If I’m struggling I know she can pick it up.”

Lander led for the majority of the fourth set, although the Tigers never pulled away. At most the Tigers led by 5 (22-17) before forcing a decisive fifth. That’s where Douglas gained the final advantage.

More kills from Fertig and Igo, along with scrappy defensive play from senior libero Andi Hunsicker, provided the Bearcats the winning edge.

That punched Douglas’ ticket and arrange a semifinal meeting with Worland on Friday. The Warriors took care of Buffalo in the quarterfinals with a (25-15, 25-13, 25-22) sweep that ended more difficult than it began.

The Warriors’ stout line of senior Talon Andersen, junior Denali Jones and junior Ajiah Montoya threw Buffalo’s attack out of sync and the Warriors feasted on that opening. They stormed to initial set victories on the strength of that formidable line, just as they had all season up to that point.

Buffalo didn’t break huddle preceding the third set until the final moment. Head coach Carlene Landrey took her time instructing and motivating the Bison to come out firing – and they did. The Bison jumped out to a 6-3 lead and stayed competitive throughout the final set, coming as close as 21-20.

In the end, they couldn’t overcome Worland’s strength. The top-seed Warriors closed out the third set to clinch the sweep.

Two-time defending runner-up Rawlins survived a late charge from Mountain View to advance into the semifinals with a 3-1 (26-24, 25-20, 11-25, 25-11) win. It was a relieving win for a program with eyes on a single game at a time.

“They came out swinging and they came out great,” Rawlins head coach Aubrey Griffiths said. “That third set, I don’t know where my team went but we came back in the fourth, thank goodness.”

The two stayed neck-and-neck throughout the initial set before a vital block from sophomore Jessie Jerome ended the first set in favor of the Outlaws. Rawlins waited on the court for the start of the second set while Mountain View spent nearly the full allotted time huddled. This time there was no red hair dye, simply business from the determined Outlaws. Rawlins dominated the second set.

Mountain View rallied to win the third and apply pressure onto the Outlaws. That didn’t last long as Rawlins hit a rhythm in the fourth and comfortably put away the Buffalos for the win.

That victory meant a semifinal match with Pinedale, who swept Torrington in the late match (25-15, 25-21, 25-12). That win was the first state tournament victory since 2002 for the Wranglers.

Timely and potent attacks from juniors Jamie Streit and Kialee Hansen helped lead Pinedale to that elusive state tournament win.

Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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