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Volleyball: Libby pushes Polson in Northwestern A match

by Western News
| October 27, 2009 12:00 AM

The first time around, Libby’s volleyball team did not walk off the court happy in a three-game sweep at the hands of Polson. Besides losing in such a lopsided manner, the match had been playing in Libby’s own gymnasium.

The Lady Loggers had another shot at first-place Polson on the road Thursday and although the team fell short in a four-game loss, head coach Cindy Ostrem-Johnston said her players gained confidence.

“I went into the locker room pretty positive,” Ostrem-Johnston said. “Even those we lost those two close games, we were right there. They competed harder than they had in the other match. They proved that they can beat Polson and now Polson knows that we can beat them.”

The Lady Pirates took the victory, 25-18, 12-25, 26-24, 28-26 to solidify their hold on first place.

“When we won the second game, we cut our errors down,” Ostrem-Johnston said. “We had our chances in games three and four and we were leading 24-21 in that last game.”

In fact, Libby held a 16-8 lead at one point in the fourth game only to see the Pirates storm back. The Loggers had put together a good rally in the third game but fell just short.

Libby had an exceptional performance at the service line with 92-percent success. Alex Kulbeck had five aces and Alysha Martin added four. Kulbeck had serving runs of eight and five points in the game two victory. Martin had a six-point run in the fourth game.

Mee served 100 percent, Martin came in at 95 percent, Kulbeck finished at 93 percent and Evi Cernick served 91 percent.

Libby struggled with its hitting and had just a .108 attack percentage. Katie Emery had eight kills and a .444 percentage. Mee had a team-high 13 kills and Kulbeck added eight kills. Cernick had 29 of the team’s 30 set assists.

At the net, Kulbeck and Emery each had three blocks. Logan Best led in digs with 20 and finished with a 2.50 serve-receive ratio. Martin and Cernick finished with nine and seven digs, respectively. Mee had a 2.39 ratio and Martin a 2.15.

Libby followed with an appearance in the Missoula Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Lady Loggers came out of pool play with a 4-10 record and then won three of four on the second day for third place in the consolation bracket.

Ostrem-Johnston said the team didn’t compete well on the first day and then had a rough start on the second day in a loss to Whitefish.

“Whitefish was fired up and we went through the motions and they got us,” she said. “We worked through some of that adversity of not playing with a lot of heart and beat Whitefish for third place.”

Competing in the Hellgate Pool, Libby lost to Helena (20-15, 20-18), Hellgate (20-6, 20-16), Polson (20-16, 20-15) and C.M. Russell (20-16, 20-13). The Loggers split with Flathead (20-9, 14-20) and Butte (20-18, 14-20) and swept Columbia Falls (20-3, 20-18).

In consolation play, Whitefish opened with the 25-23, 25-23 win over LHS. The Loggers finished strong with wins over Frenchtown (25-18, 25-9), Great Falls (25-17, 25-18) and Whitefish (25-18, 25-18).

For the tournament, Emery had 22 aces and Mee added 18. Cernick served at 98.6 percent with Mee coming in at 93 percent.

Mee had 79 of the team’s 172 kills and had a .450 attack percentage – an exceptional performance considering that she faced some big blockers, Ostrem-Johnston said. Kulbeck had 33 kills and Martin added 22. Cernick had 157 assists.

Kulbeck had a good tourney at the net with 13 blocks. Mee and Emery finished with seven and six blocks, respectively. Martin had a team-high 7 digs while Mee finished with 62 and Best had 52. Mee had the top serve-receive ratio at 2.32.

Libby (4-2 in region, 6-4 overall) heads to Columbia Falls on Friday night and will host senior night on Saturday against Ronan.