Lady Blue defeats Jackson, LanderAug 30, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
All-state volleyballer Tammy Maddock was no longer in the Lady Blue lineup when the Shoshoni Wranglers took the court to open the new season at the McDonald's Invitational in Riverton last weekend, as the powerful outside hitter is now plying her trade at Northwest College in Powell.
However, that doesn't mean head coach Christina Mills has no bullets left in her gun.
Lady Blue has a mix of returning veterans such as seniors Brianna Thompson, Grayce Crichton and Whispe Pingetzer, along with juniors Ashley Steffen and Kiana Pierson.
But, in addition, freshman Cheyenne Thompson has joined her older sister on the squad and sophomore Wirthe Pingetzer is also in a stepped-up role this season.
All of them were on display as the Wranglers defeated a pair of quality opponents from higher classes over the weekend.
After losing to host Riverton in the opener on Friday morning by a score of 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) and dropping another match to eventual tournament champions Powell, 2-0 (21-15, 21-14), Lady Blue rebounded with a victory against Class 4-A Jackson, 2-1 (21-11, 20-21,15-10).
Pierson recorded seven kills in the match, while Steffen and Wirthe Pingetzer each added four.
Brianna Thompson contributed 17 assists and Wirthe Pingetzer had 15 digs.
Friday's final match of the day pitted the Wranglers against the Lady Rangers of Kemmerer, who defeated Shoshoni, 2-0 (21-10, 21-18).
On Saturday, a rematch with the Lady Broncs in bracket play loomed and once again, the Wranglers handled Jackson by a scoreline of 2-0 (21-10, 21-17), as it was again kill-by-committee as Steffen pounded five kills to go with four apiece from Whispe Pingetzer and Pierson.
Brianna Thompson had all 14 assists, while Cheyenne Thompson and Steffen each had five digs on the day.
Up next were the Lady Warriors of Worland, who downed the Wranglers, 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) to relegate them to the consolation bracket.
However, Lady Blue quickly bounced back with a win against Class 3-A Lander, who the Wranglers put to the sword by a final of 2-0 (21-12, 21-20).
Steffen had her best performance of the tournament with nine kills, with Brianna Thompson adding 16 assists, while Whispe Pingetzer had 10 digs.
Shoshoni finished off the weekend with an all-Wranglers battle against Pinedale, ultimately coming up short, 2-0 (25-16, 25-17).
On the season, the lefty-swinging Steffen leads the club with 50 kills, while Pierson has 29.
Of the 112 assists recorded so far on the new campaign by the Wranglers, Brianna Thompson has 110.
However, younger sister Cheyenne Thompson has kept the helper habit in the family, adding a pair herself to round out the stat sheet.
Whispe Pingetzer leads with 52 digs, Wirthe Pingetzer and Pierson each have five blocks and Pierson is also the ace leader with 10.
Shoshoni (3-5) will next host Big Piney on Saturday.
Wyoming Indian, St. Stephen's and Dubois were all in action at the Saratoga Invitational over the weekend.
However, only the Lady Rams emerged with a victory for their efforts and it was a win against the Lady Chiefs in the opening match by a score of 2-0 (25-19, 25-13) on Friday.
Following that match, Dubois lost to host Saratoga, 2-0 (25-11, 25-16), then dropped a match against Little Snake River, 2-0 (25-20, 25-18).
Wyoming Indian was also defeated by the Lady Rattlers, 2-0 (25-14, 25-20) and then also lost to Saratoga, 2-0 (25-14, 25-20).
The Lady Eagles of St. Stephen's didn't fare much better on Friday with losses at the hands of Encampment, 2-1 (24-26, 25-9, 25-17), Farsen-Eden, 2-0 (25-15, 25-7) and Hanna-Elk Mountain, 2-1 (26-24, 22-25, 25-21).
On Saturday, the fortunes of the Fremont County squads failed to improve.
Dubois was downed by Encampment, 2-0 (25-9, 25-22) and Farsen-Eden, 2-0 (25-13, 25-18), the Lady Chiefs lost to Farsen-Eden, 2-0 (25-20, 25-13) and Encampment, 2-0 (25-14, 25-8) and St. Stephen's was defeated by Little Snake River, 2-0 (25-8, 25-9) and Saratoga, 2-0 (25-18, 25-15).
Dubois (1-4) will next host Wyoming Indian (0-5) on Thursday, while St. Stephen's (0-5) will visit Midwest on Friday.