Undefeated Lady Mustangs capture Yellowstone Conference Tournament

Avery Layne

The Lovell Middle School Lady Mustang volleyball teams wrapped up the 2023 season at their respective conference tournaments on October 14.
The seventh-grade Lady Mustangs entered the tournament in Riverton as the top seed, and coach Marci Durtsche noted, “We had a target on our back.” However, the Lovell netters came to win.
Facing off against Thermopolis first, the Lady Mustangs prevailed thanks to a strong rally. After falling behind in the second set 13-8, Coach Durtsche said Lovell secured the win when Gracie Angell put together 13 consecutive serves to close out the match.
After beating the Lady Bobcats, the Lovell squad went on to face the Worland Warriors. Coach Durtsche said their opponents made it hard for the Lady Mustangs to get into a rhythm as they did not know what to expect. After seemingly digging themselves in a hole and getting behind by nine points at the beginning of the second game, the Lady Mustangs fought back for every point and claimed the second set 21-17, sending them to the championship game.
“This team showed true grit when their backs were against the wall. I was so proud of how they never gave up and gave it their all,” Durtsche said.
Heading into the championship game against the Cody Fillies, the Lady Mustangs experienced a rocky start, suffering their first set loss of their season in the first set, 21-12. However, with determination, the team managed to turn it around on the Lady Fillies as Coach Durtsche noted, “They came out on a mission and dominated the next two games. Every girl had a job, and they made sure they did not let each other down.”
Winning the next two sets 21-13 and 15-6, the Lady Mustangs were crowned champions of the Yellowstone Conference tournament.
“I had a blast coaching this group because of how hard they work and their competitive attitudes. It was a fast and furious season, but so much fun,” Durtsche said. “They were an incredible group of girls, and along with
lots of support from their families and an amazing assistant coach (Kisha McArthur), it made for a successful season.”
Eighth graders
Going into the conference tournament in Powell ranked number 2, the eighth-grade team held their ground against their opponents. Playing Thermopolis first, the
Lady Mustangs claimed both sets of their match, giving the Lady Bobcats little room to score.
Coach Mallory DeWitt commented on her team’s performance, stating, “The girls played well and adjusted to a shorter amount of serving room.”
Moving on to their next match, the team played the Cody Fillies in a match that would determine their advancement to the championship game. After beating Cody by winning two out of three sets, the eighth-grade team soon after faced off against Riverton for a chance at winning the championship.
Though fighting a tough match, the Lady
Mustangs came up short, losing the third set and becoming the runners-up of the Yellowstone Conference. With the season wrapped up from their strong performance, Coach Dewitt gave a final note saying, “This was a great team to coach this year, and they improved so much. I am excited to continue to watch them in high school.”