Lady Chiefs down Dubois in five-setterOct 6, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
Last season, Vonnie Capitan was smashing volleyballs for Wind River.
Capitan has traded purple for blue after making the switch to Wyoming Indian High School and now soars above the net with her powerful right arm as a member of the Lady Chiefs.
Her latest contribution to the cause was 12 kills in a 3-2 (25-21, 25-21, 17-25, 25-27, 15-8) home victory over the Lady Rams of Dubois on Thursday in a non-conference contest in Ethete.
It looked for all the world as if the Class 2-A home side easily would have its way with the Class 1-A visitors, as the Lady Chiefs won the opening two sets, poised to sweep the Rams on the strong early play of Capitan, Journey LeBeau and Halle Robinson, who each had a pair of kills in the first set.
Wyoming Indian would continue its gritty, determined play in the second stanza, despite a quick start by DHS, which jumped out to a 9-2 advantage on a kill and an ace by towering 6-foot-1 junior middle blocker Calyn O'Neal and another winner from Rheannon Hawk.
However, the Lady Chiefs weathered the storm and battled back to take the set by the same 25-21 score as the first.
Dubois has made a habit this season of playing long matches, so it wasn't surprising head coach Tina Baker's club fought its way back into the match with a 25-17 victory in the third set.
The Lady Rams led the entire third set with the help of aces by O'Neal and Aubry Baker, then continued their comeback in the fourth.
Hawk served a pair of aces to get it started, then O'Neal blocked a shot at the net for a point and followed it up with a kill, as the Rams built a lead before the Lady Chiefs mounted a fightback of their own, largely on serves.
LaBeau contributed an ace, followed by another from Diamond Shoyo and yet another pair from Josie Standing Elk, before a final one from the fist of Alsee HerManyHorses, which gave the Chiefs a 24-23 lead.
Still, the Rams were able to stave off the Chiefs' charge to win the set 27-25 and force a fifth-set tiebreaker.
The furious fifth began with a Tataiyana Gamber kill, and the home side was on its way, as HerManyHorses added a kill and an ace to help close out the match, along with a block by Alex Trosper. Victory belonged to the Lady Chiefs.
According to Wyoming Indian head coach Jed Anderson, his club was well-equipped to go the distance.
"We were definitely mentally-focused," said Anderson. "In fact, we have several drills in practice where we have our varsity play from behind against the junior varsity."
The match marked the third occasion this season in which the Lady Chiefs have gone five sets, but the first time they had emerged victorious after earlier defeats to Hanna-Elk Mountain and Kemmerer in back-to-back outings Sept. 22 and 30.
It appears Anderson's squad has learned its lesson, he said.
"It's good to get a taste of winning," said Anderson. "But, the they put forth the effort to win."
Along with Capitan's 12 kills, HerManyHorses added eight, while Robinson and LeBeau had five each.
For Dubois, O'Neal had a match-high 16 kills, with Baker collecting nine and Hawk eight.
Riley Rux had 29 assists, and O'Neal added 26 digs in the contest.
It was the Lady Rams' fifth five-set battle of the current campaign. They stand 2-3 in such affairs, having split a pair each with conference opponents Meeteetse and Burlington. This also was the fourth consecutive five-setter for Baker's side.
"It was the same as the past two weekends for us," she said. "These kind of matches are a coach's nightmare."
Despite defeat on this day, it certainly wasn't all doom and gloom for Dubois.
"We did some good things and came back from a sluggish start," said Baker. "Our passing was good and we dug exceptionally well."
For Anderson, the victory particularly sweet, he said.
"We finally got one in five sets," said Anderson. "We got all our serves in, which was big."
Wyoming Indian (5-15, 0-2 Class 2-A Southwest) will next host conference opponents Wind River on Friday, while Dubois (5-8, 4-2 Class 1-A Northwest) will play at the Farson-Eden Invitational on Friday and Saturday.