OROFINO OROFINO — A contest for control of the Central Idaho League’s top seed spun out of Grangeville’s grip despite the Bulldogs building early leads during three of the four games on Sept. 30. While the Maniacs won the match (25-19, 25-19, 22-25, 25-17), the Bulldogs put Orofino under pressure at every stage.
GHS took a 5-1 lead in the first game behind Maicee Conner’s serving and a block by Sarah Wilson.
Orofino rallied to tie it at 9-9, and used sharp serves by Jordynn Schwartz to grab a lead, 17-13, after which Grangeville played permissive defense.
Equally, Orofino made solid plays on the attack, avoiding blockers and challenging Grangeville’s back row.
The Maniacs kept up their play during the early stage of the second game, opening up a 12-6 lead.
Grangeville called time-out, then rallied to tie at 12-12 as Madison Brown took over. Brown killed a couple, but also got in on a key block during the stretch. During the same stretch, Wilson killed off a long rally with a well-placed strike. But Schwartz’s serve again turned the run of play against Grangeville, as Orofino reopened a 16-13 lead on a couple of aces.
During the third game, Grangeville overpowered the Maniacs early but again saw Orofino rally to tie — this time at 17-17. A kill by Brown turned momentum back in Grangeville’s favor at 22-22, and Conner’s serve won out.
Grangeville took a 9-4 lead in the fourth game — again, with Brown converting a large portion of Addie Lutz’s sets into kills.
Orofino rallied to victory behind Jordyn Howell, giving the Maniacs a tie in the CIL standings heading into the final weeks of the regular season.
During a tri-match at home later in the week, Grangeville defeated Kendrick in five (23-25, 25-16, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12) and emptied the bench during a three-game loss with Summit (25-12, 16-25, 9-15).
Last Saturday, Oct. 4, Brown was named to the all-tournament team at the Pea and Lentil Tournament held annually in Genesee.
“I thought we played well this weekend in Genesee,” GHS coach Kelcey Edwards said. “ We struggled at home on Thursday night and I was hoping it would not carry over to the tournament. We played well on the day placing second on our net behind host Genesee and then tied for third after we lost to Prairie in the bracket play.”
“This was the toughest field I have seen in the nine years we have been going to this tournament and I was very proud of the way the girls played Saturday,” he added.
Coming — Grangeville will return to Orofino for a league tri-match on Saturday, Oct. 11. The Bulldogs will play CDA Charter (1 p.m.) and St. Maries (5 p.m.).
The JV team also plays CDA Charter (11 am) and St. Maries (3 pm). Grangeville’s regular season winds down the following week with a Pink Game at home against Clearwater Valley and concludes at home against Orofino on Oct. 16.