The final week of the regular season had the NCHS volleyball team travel to the Hornet’s Nest Friday before Senior Day at Tiger Gym on Saturday. Pine Bluffs has been near the top of the Wyopreps coaches/media poll all season and were looking to secure a top seed for the regional tournament.
The first set was close throughout with a 6-6 tie before the home team edged ahead. The lead never got over six but PB held on 25-19. A strong opening by PB got them off to an 8-2 lead and the Lady Tigers could not regroup in the 25-7 final and two set lead. NCHS led during most of the third set but the Lady Hornets height helped tie the set at 16. Lusk didn’t falter easily, but PB pulled ahead for the 25-20 sweep.
NCHS TEAM STATS: Serving- 42/47, 89 pct; Kills- 17/74, 23 pct; Assists- 16; Digs- 37/67, 55 pct.
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Serving- Ashley Christianson 12/12; Lucy Ceaglske 9/9; Taylor Gaukel 8/8. Kills- Gaukel 8. Assists- Christianson 14. Digs- Gaukel 13; Kianna Blackburn 6; Allison Williams 6.
Blackburn, Christianson and Gaukel were honored with their families before Saturday’s home finale against Lingle-Ft Laramie. The Lady Tigers started slow and found a quick deficit of 7-3 before getting it back to within 13-12. LFL withstood every rally Lusk came with for the 25-21 first set win. Again in the second, LFL took an early lead and held off the Lady Tigers 25-15. The third set showed hunger and determination from both teams as the lead never wavered above three points. From a tie at 18 the visitors barely avoided a fourth set in the 25-22 squeaker.
NCHS TEAM STATS: Serving- 54/60, 6 aces, 90 pct; Kills- 24/79, 30 pct; Assists- 21; Digs- 55/89, 62 pct.
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Serving- Christianson 13/13; Ceaglske 11/11; Gaukel 11/13, 3 aces. Kills- Gaukel 8; Blackburn 5, Anna Richardson 5; Bryn Bruch 5. Assists- Christianson 18. Digs- Gaukel 17; Blackburn 11; Richardson 10.
The JV/C squad finished up with a 25-14 and 25-7 loss at PB before close scores against LFL (21-25, 22-25). It was a tough year for the younger squads as they finished 2-24-1 combined. Fans must remember that with just 14 healthy players-most of the underclasses were facing much older and experienced squads. Despite being overmatched almost every time out, coach Kitson Boldon noted how much the girls improved during the season.
Glenrock hosts the 2A East Regional this Friday and Saturday with the Lady Tigers facing Wright Friday morning at 9 a.m. Win or lose, NCHS will face either Southeast or Sundance at 5 p.m. With a victory Lusk would move into the semi-finals at the high school- while a loss would see the consolation bracket at the middle school. All ticket prices and brackets can be found at whsaa.org.