Lady Wolverines win weekend tourney openerAug 25, 2017 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer
It was a Fremont County opening to the McDonald's Invitational volleyball tournament at Riverton High School and Riverton Middle School on Friday morning.
The 9 a.m. games featured Shoshoni facing Riverton at Wolverine Gym in the first-ever match between the two schools' varsity teams.
Shoshoni has played the Riverton JV and lower-level teams down to the seventh grade level many times, but this varsity game was a first.
At Riverton Middle School, Lander and Wind River squared off in the first game of the tournament at that venue.
Riverton 2, Shoshoni 0
Shoshoni played well in the opening minutes of the match and held an early lead before three serves directly into the net gave Riverton momentum.
The Wolverines never looked back and took the pool play match in two sets, 21-12, 21-14.
"It was good for the girls to get out there and play," said Riverton head coach Trista Day. "We need to work on defense.Too many balls drop that we can pick up."
Shoshoni has a very tall team this season and played well at the net against Riverton's 5-foot-11 sophomore Naya Shime, a preseason all-state candidate.
"Shoshoni has good players up front," said Day.
Shoshoni's inexperience was a factor in the opening game.
"We have a few girls that didn't have varsity time until this year," said Shoshoni head coach Christina Mills. "Our height helps. We just have to learn how to play at this level. I'm excited where we're at right now.
This year's McDonald's tournament is primarily a Class 3-A field with Riverton, Lander, Pinedale, Powell, Worland and Thermopolis competing against Class 2-A Wind River, Shoshoni, Big Piney and Kemmerer, plus Class 4-A Jackson.
Lander 2, Wind River 0
Lander lost senior outside hitter Raylee Nipper early in the opening game against Wind River, and the Tigers were a bit flustered with girls playing in new positions.
Wind River is a tall team with solid talent at the net, and the Tigers had trouble adjusting to the Lady Cougars' power up front, initially.
The Lady Tigers took a spirited match 21-17, 21-14 over the Cougars.
"The first match is always interesting," said first-year Lander head coach Marissa Powell. "You never know how good you are. We had some girls really step up when Raylee was injured."
Wind River has a power hitter with good blocking skills in 5-foot-11 sophomore Savannah Arneach, and the Cougars played to their strength at the net.
"It's a good start," said first-year Wind River head coach Jamie Lockhart. "It lets us know what we need to work on."
Wind River had the opportunity to win the match or take it to three games, but at crucial junctures the Cougars were flat.
"We have great potential. I'm excited to what we can do," said Lockhart. "We don't get excited, we need to celebrate our success to get our momentum going."
In other morning action, Thermopolis played Powell and Kemmerer played Jackson at Riverton High School.Worland and Pinedale squared off, along with Wind River taking just a one-game break before playing Southwest Conference rival Big Piney.
Pool play determines Saturday's bracket.
Pool A consists of Riverton, Powell, Jackson, Thermopolis, Shoshoni and Kemmerer while Pinedale, Lander, Worland, Big Piney and Wind River compete in Pool B.