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Savages beat Dietrich, Clark Fork; SR places fourth at 1AD2 state tournament


Salmon River’s Emily Diaz keyed the Savages’ first-round victory over Dietrich during the 1AD2 state volleyball tournament last weekend.

Photo by Andrew Ottoson
Salmon River’s Emily Diaz keyed the Savages’ first-round victory over Dietrich during the 1AD2 state volleyball tournament last weekend.

— The Salmon River girls put a scare into a formidable Butte County team during the second round of the 1AD2 state tournament last weekend. Having won their opening match in front of a raucous and supportive crowd, Salmon River claimed the opening set 25-14 with the voluminous traveling cheering section rattling the bleachers. When the teams switched ends, Butte County faced the crowd and leveled the match with a 25-19 win in the second game.

Butte County couldn't quite finish off a strong rally after falling behind in the third, which the Savages won 25-23, but the Pirates broke open the fourth game with a run of strong serves.

The fourth had been evenly played, with Chevelle Shepherd's serve lifting the Savages within a point at 13-12, after which the Pirates uncorked a couple of 4-0 runs that put the game out of reach. Butte County finished that one 25-16.

By the end of the fourth, the Savages were visibly tired, and their supporters appeared to have spent most of their energy.

“It was a fun game and the kids really enjoyed it, but any time you’re starting out with three freshmen you’re counting on — and they all did a great job — they’re freshmen,” head coach Paula Tucker said. “They haven’t been here before.”

Butte County, senior-led, showed the advantages that come from experience.

The SRHS girls contested the tiebreaker evenly through 6-6 and within a point through 8-7, but seven of the final 10 points went Butte County's way. With the win, Butte County reached the semifinal game, and with the loss, Salmon River had to face Clark Fork to keep its trophy hopes alive.

The Savages trounced Clark Fork 3-0 but were eliminated by Lighthouse Christian in fourth place Saturday morning.

“The girls played really well the first game,” Tucker said. “That Lighthouse team is good. I don’t want to take anything away from them, but we made way too many mistakes, and made it too easy for them. But we’re going home with some hardware.”

During the first round, Salmon River's strong start began with five consecutive points served up by Emily Diaz.

"The girls really wanted to win that one," Tucker said after the Savages beat Dietrich 3-0 (25-11, 25-16, 25-14).

Diaz returned to the serve line late in the first game, and ran off the final five points. With the Savages ahead 20-10, Diaz's spike made it her turn to initiate, and Dietrich, visibly rattled by the loud crowd, misplayed three of her serves. When the Blue Devils did return one, the Savages set it up for Chevelle Shepherd, who killed it off at 23-11. The game ended on Diaz's ace.

The second game saw Dietrich lead until Shepherd's turn at the serve line, where she turned a 7-9 deficit into a 12-10 SRHS lead. Salmon River went on to lead by as many as nine, at 24-15. The third game was knotted at 7-7 before Diaz's serve put the Savages ahead by four. Shepherd's turn all but ended the match, increasing the lead from three, 16-13, to 10 points.

The Long Pin Conference coaches voted Shepherd “MVP” and Tucker “coach of the year” as well as Diaz and Lotus Harper first-team, Payton Branstetter second-team and Sofia Branstetter third-team.


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