Lady Grizz victors against Wind River in five set thriller

Ryan Fitzmaurice
The Lady Grizz persevered in a thriller Friday, defeating conference foe Wind River in a five-set match.

“We had quite the barn burner,” head coach Stephanie Ames said. “Wind River took us to five sets and down to the wire. The girls held on to take the win. The crowd really got behind us, and it was great.”

The conference win gives Rocky Mountain a 9-10-3 record on the year and a 1-1 record in conference. 

Rocky had the early momentum in the matchup, taking the first set 25-19. Wind River would prove to be a resilient opponent.  In the second set the Grizz fought back from 23-21 down to tie the match at 24-24 and then 25-25, but Wind River wouldn’t bend, coming out ahead 27-25 and tying the match 1-1. 

Wind River didn’t let that momentum go to waste, seemingly taking firm control of the match in a 25-15 third set.

Rocky Mountain, down two sets to one, regrouped in the fourth set. Finding the score tied 16-16 in the middle of the decisive set, the Lady Grizz went on a run of their own, eventually taking the set 25-19.

Ames said the team still needs to find a way to consistently play with high energy and that returning to energetic play is what allowed the Lady Grizz to get back into the match.

“There’s a better feeling of stability now that we have the girls relatively healthy and eligible. We had some late joiners that are now able to play, and that is really helpful. The girls hustled and moved pretty well Friday. When they’re doing that we win. We continue to work on the continuity of that,” Ames said.  “We slowed down a few times, and that’s when Wind River got some runs on us. We started slower than I’d have liked and had to come from behind too much. We have more things to work on.”

The momentum was again teetering in the fifth set, with the teams again finding themselves interlocked. After a 7-7 tie, Rocky Mountain fought to a small lead and never let it go, taking the fifth set 15-13 and the match three sets to two. 

“Overall, we’re happy with the conference win and glad to be finding our groove again,” Ames said.

MacKelle Moss led the Grizz on offense Friday, earning 12 kills in the match. 

“She was a powerhouse hitter,” Ames said. 

Lauren Bassett recorded 3 kills, and Brittly Boettcher had 2. 

Shelby Wambeke recorded 10 assists in the match.

Moss, Layla Gardner and Rylee Winland had two aces each, Boettcher had one. 

Boettcher led the team defensively with 7 digs. Keylee Christiansen had 4 digs, Wambeke 3, Moss 2, Winland and Bassett 1.

The Lady Grizz have some time off as they enter October.  They will next hit the court again at home on October 6, tipping off against Big Horn at 4 p.m.