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Hornets snap three match skid

Hornets snap three match skid Hornets snap three match skid

The Colby Hornets went 1-2 over the last week, falling to Athens and Stratford but bouncing back against the Gilman Pirates at home.

Gilman, 3-2

Looking to get back in the win column, the Colby varsity team invited the Gilman Pirates to town for their Cloverbelt-East opener. The Hornets started off their conference schedule with a win, defeating their opponents 3-2.

It was a closely contested match, with a number of changes in momentum. The two teams would trade sets, with Gilman picking up the first and third sets by the same score, 25-18, and Colby winning the second and fourth sets by scores of 25-16 and 25-21. Colby broke the pattern in the fifth set, however, taking the tie breaker 15-9.

After some struggles the night before against Stratford, the Hornets saw improvement on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Senior outside hitter Hayden Willner led the team with 13 kills, with sophomores Savana Thomsen and Harrison Schmitt contributing 11 and eight kills respectively. Willner and Thomsen also led the Hornets’ defensive efforts, recording 25 and 23 digs each.

Head coach Wade Oehmichen noted that the Hornets defense in particular was much improved from their previous matches.

“We are turning a corner with our defense,” he said. “They are starting to see the court and their defense shows it.”


On Monday, the Hornets faced off against the Stratford Tigers at home. After a competitive first set, the visitors pulled away in the final two sets to down Colby in three games.

The first set held promise of a tight, back and forth affair. The teams seemed on even footing, exchanging blow for blow early in the game. With the score tied at 15-15, Stratford made the first real run of the match, rattling off four straight points to take a 19-15 lead. The Hornets battled right back, with Thomsen smashing through the Tiger block to tie the game at 25-25. They had several opportunities to take the lead on the following volley but were unable to capitalize. Stratford took the point and won the match on the following rally, 27-25.

Colby once again seemed to be an equal match for the Tigers through the ten point mark of game two. However, Stratford started to find holes in Colby’s defense, with several consecutive dump shots finding the floor in the middle of the Hornet’s side of the court. A seven point run was only ended on a setting error by the Tigers, with Colby struggling to find any sort of offense. Hitting errors and several close calls that went in the visiting teams favor plagued the Hornets, who were down 22-12 at one point in the match. While they made a small run at the end of the game, Stratford claimed the victory, 25-18.

The Tigers were in control for much of the third match, with the home team still having issues keeping their attacks inbounds. Stratford took the final set with relative ease, 25-15.

It was a tough evening for Colby, both from the service line and on the attack. They totalled 25 hitting errors and 11 service errors on the evening. Thomsen was the main source of offense for the Hornets. She had 11 kills while only committing two errors. She also helped out on the defensive side of the ball, leading the team in digs with 12. Willner also had 11 digs on defense.

Athens, 0-3

Last Thursday, Colby traveled to Athens to take on the undefeated Bluejays. It was a tough matchup for the visiting Hornets, who fell in straight sets in the non-conference contest.

Athens was 9-0 and ranked as the number one team in the state in Division 4 going into the match. It did not take the Bluejays long to demonstrate why they were deserving of such a ranking. They blew past Colby in the first set, doubling up the Hornets and taking the game 2512. The visitors improved as the match progressed, but ultimately could not keep up with the Bluejays, falling 25-16 and 25-18 in sets two and three.

While their defensive effort was admirable, there were still things to work on.

“We are still learning our defensive system and it just takes time,” Oehmichen said. “Only three weeks into the season and with eight matches under our belts already, we are making huge strides and I expect us to peak at the right time this season.”

The defense was led by Willner and senior Kennedy Bilz, who had 13 and eight digs respectively.

The transition from defense to offense once again proved to be a weakness for the Hornets, where a lack of passing consistency made it difficult for Colby to get into any sort of offensive rhythm. Rieck and Thomsen led the team in kills, with Rieck recording eight and Thomsen having five herself.

The Hornets will take on Abbotsford next, heading to the Falcons home court on Thursday. The game starts at 7:00 p.m.

IRON WALL DEFENSE - Harrison Schmitt (13) gets the block as she and teammate Jorja Weiland (2) make things difficult for Stratford’s offense.