The fight for a top-two spot at the divisional tournament continued for the Butte Central volleyball team Saturday.
The Maroons downed Hamilton in five sets to keep their hopes of a first-round bye at divisionals alive.
Butte Central claimed the sets 25-17, 20-25, 25-12, 21-25, 15-10. The win put the team at 5-2 in conference play this season and in a tie for the second-best record in the Southwestern A.
As they have in recent years, Hamilton sent out a talented, well-coached group onto the floor at the Maroon Activities Center.
The Maroons won easily in the first and third sets. The team suffered some setbacks as the Broncs took momentum in the second and fourth goes at it.
Central persevered in the fifth set with big plays from a handful of players, including Taylor Marthaller, Sadie Harrington, Annie Ossello, Danee Leary and Mariah Cooney.
After taking a 12-9 lead at one point, the Maroons were able to cruise on the last few points for a 15-10 set and match win.
Hamilton hitter Penny Gwynn had one of the best hitting matches any player in the conference might have all season. She tallied 25 of the Broncs 39 kills. She also did well in the back row with 22 digs.
Butte Central coach Kaila Minehan said working on Gwynn was one of the things that helped her team succeed.
“They’ve got some great players,” Minehan said of Hamilton. “The offensive line is led by Penny Gwynn. I feel like we did a good job on making her adjust where she was hitting.”
The coach said after the game that she felt her team has one of its best matches of the season up and down the roster.
“Today I didn’t have to cross anybody off the lineup,” Minehan said. “Everybody did a
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Leary paced the team in kills with 12. Cooney added in nine kills and four blocks.
The team saw some important plays made by Annie Ossello and Sadie Harrington with seven and six kills scored.
Shannon McLaughlin led the team in assists Saturday with 21.
Libero Danika Neumann ended up with 23 digs.
Coach Minehan said after the match that having all of her seniors back in the fold after returns to injuries has helped.
“It’s awesome having all six of our seniors out there,” Minehan said. “It’s nice to see.”
An important week lies ahead for the Central volleyball team. The squad will face Anaconda at home Tuesday and then Corvallis later in the week. The three teams hold the top three spots in the conference entering the week, so those divisional seedings could be decided with those matches.
The Maroons also have their second annual Blocktoberfest Tournament at the Maroon Activies Center on Saturday.
Butte Central def. Hamilton 25-17, 20-25, 25-12, 21-25, 15-10
KILLS — Hamilton 39 (Penny Gwynn 25, Jaylee Albert 7), BC 40 (Danee Leary 12, Mariah Cooney 9, Annie Ossello 7, Sadie Harrington 6, Danika Neumann 4, Teresa Piazzola 2). ASSISTS — Hamilton 36 (Val Tayler 26, Makayla Horvath 6), BC 37 (Shannon McLaughlin 21, Taylor Marthaller 13). ACES — Hamilton 7 (Tayler 4), BC 4 (McLaughlin 2, Cassidy McGree, Leary). DIGS — Hamilton 79 (Danika Neumann 23, Leary 20, Marthaller 13, McGree 9, McLaughlin 6, Cooney 5, Harrington 2, Sierra Pica). BLOCKS — Hamilton 3 (Cara Schulz 2), BC 11 (Cooney 4, Harrington 3, Piazzola, Pica, Ossello, Leary).