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West County bounces back against Valley

LEADWOOD – Home-court advantage for the Bronze Bracket of the MAAA Tournament offered unexpected consolation for a West County volleyball team that hoped for a higher finish.

The Lady Bulldogs bounced back from two straight-set losses in pool play to capture ninth place with a 25-16, 25-13 victory over Valley on Tuesday night.

Dominance was achieved mostly from the middle attacking positions. Dori McRaven compiled 11 kills with seven digs, and Peyten Blair totaled eight kills for West County (19-8).

Makenzie Simily twice found open spots in the opposing defense to help the host club overcome an error-plagued 7-4 deficit with six straight points.

Valley (8-17) stayed within 16-13 later in game one when a spike by senior Liz Morris slightly changed directions and fell to the surface.

But McRaven answered with a rocket against single blocking on the next rally, and Jenna Simily served an ensuing ace as the margin soon swelled to 20-13.

Although Felisha Stewart solo blocked a 10-foot spike for the Lady Vikings at 23-16, Blair hammered her seventh kill to seal the opening stanza.

Kylie Newhouse dished out 19 assists and made six digs while Madalyn Herrera and Blair contributed five digs each to the win.

Jenna Simily provided a humorous moment for the Lady Bulldogs early in game two when her left-side attack glanced off nearby teammate McRaven and caromed over the net for an indirect kill.

She then served a 6-0 streak that resulted in an 8-2 advantage. McRaven downed an overpass after two previous swings were defended on a Jalynn Orrick dig and Felisha Stewart block.

Carleigh Jackson spiked off the block, and Morris guided a pinpoint push across the front row to help Valley battle back to within 13-9.

But a booming block by McRaven sparked an 8-0 answer while Newhouse served. That run was capped by four Valley hitting miscues.

Morgan Simily and Riley Petty entered the lineup late, and applied the Lady Bulldogs’ final two kills of the night.

West County will host the Class 2, District 3 bracket next week, and could secure its first 20-win season since 2015 with a first-round victory against St. Vincent on Monday.

Morris totaled five digs and two aces while equaling Carter Clark with two kills each. Kirstin Francis had four digs for Valley.

West County 2, Bismarck 0

Dori McRaven served three aces during a sudden 9-0 turnaround after West County coach Jill Simily burned an early timeout to admonish her team.

Madalyn Herrera rattled off 10 points in row as the next player to rotate back during the opening set, and the Lady Bulldogs routed Bismarck 25-7, 25-16 to begin the Bronze Bracket.

Makenzie Simily knocked down a team-high six kills, and capped game one with consecutive aces after several passing errors put West County in an initial 5-1 deficit.

Bismarck fared better in game two before ultimately fading. Belle Gibson gave her squad a 9-7 by converting two of her three kills on the heels of a tying ace from Payton Cole.

West County continued to trail at 12-10 before countering with a crisp stretch of eight straight points served by setter Kylie Newhouse, who compiled 15 assists and two aces.

McRaven finished with five kills and seven digs, and landed a tying smash before guiding the next ball past two defenders at a sharper angle.

Chloe Young scored on a back-set from Newhouse for the next point, and Jenna Simily caught the back line from the opposite side before the run concluded.

Riley Dickey briefly stopped the rush with her lone kill while totaling four digs and three assists for the Lady Indians. But Young notched her third and fourth kills of the match to make it 24-14.

Herrera collected six digs and Makenzie Roever added four more to bolster West County. Peyten Blair chipped in three kills from the middle.

The Bismarck back row was highlighted by Josie Campbell and Cole with seven digs apiece, while junior libero Lexi Droege finished with six.

Valley 2, Kingston 0

Valley served a dozen aces and spread its attacks evenly while rolling past Kingston 25-14, 25-11 in the second Bronze Bracket semifinal contest.

Carter Clark tallied five kills, six assists, six aces and four digs while Liz Morris registered five kills, eight digs and five assists in the victory.

The Lady Vikings earned numerous points by emphasizing placement over power at the net, and landed numerous outside shots down the line toward vacant corners.

Jalynn Orrick finished with a team-high nine digs, and served a crucial 9-0 scoring streak that created a 12-3 advantage for Valley in game two.

The longest rally of that stretch saw Morris stop three incoming swings from the Lady Cougars before Carleigh Jackson blocked a tip on a joust.

Chasey Dunn added consecutive kills inside the back line after Morris served an ace, and both players saved a ball from the net on match point as a Kirstin Francis dig preceded a Kingston hitting error.

Valley gained gradual separation after holding a narrow 9-8 lead in game one. Clark bumped a tricky pass accurately to Morris for a spike at 14-9.

Felisha Stewart sent down an overpass at 19-12 – prompting a timeout by the Lady Cougars – and went on to share top kill honors with five.

Senior Molly Comfort added six digs to the win.

Kingston notched five of its six kills in game two, getting a pair from Ally Fogelbach. Josie Pierce picked up four digs, and Chelsea Gann made two blocks.

West County junior Riley Petty (20) hits an attack off Valley blockers Felisha Stewart (left) and Liz Morris to score the final point on a straight-set victory in the MAAA Tournament 9th-place match on Tuesday in Leadwood.

West County junior Riley Petty (20) hits an attack off Valley blockers Felisha Stewart (left) and Liz Morris to score the final point on a straight-set victory in the MAAA Tournament 9th-place match on Tuesday in Leadwood.

West County junior Chloe Nipper lunges forward to receive a Valley serve as libero Makenzie Roever (4) looks on during the MAAA Tournament 9th-place match on Tuesday night in Leadwood.

West County junior Chloe Nipper lunges forward to receive a Valley serve as libero Makenzie Roever (4) looks on during the MAAA Tournament 9th-place match on Tuesday night in Leadwood.

Valley senior Molly Comfort directs a pass from the back row as sophomore Carter Clark (14) and senior Kirstin Francis (24) look on during the MAAA Tournament 9th-place game against West County on Tuesday night.

Valley senior Molly Comfort directs a pass from the back row as sophomore Carter Clark (14) and senior Kirstin Francis (24) look on during the MAAA Tournament 9th-place game against West County on Tuesday night.

Valley junior Chasey Dunn (12) taps an attack toward West County juniors Dori McRaven (8) and Jenna Simily (19) during the MAAA Tournament 9th-place match on Tuesday night in Leadwood.

Valley junior Chasey Dunn (12) taps an attack toward West County juniors Dori McRaven (8) and Jenna Simily (19) during the MAAA Tournament 9th-place match on Tuesday night in Leadwood.

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