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P-O changes offense, defeats Lady Bison
Friday, October 5, 2012
By Jaclyn Yingling Sports Editor
PHILIPSBURG - Coming into Thursday's match with Clearfield, Philipsburg-Osceola head coach Dave Eckberg wanted to make sure his team wasn't becoming too predictable at the net.
Turns out the Lady Mounties were anything but, sweeping the Lady Bison, 25-9, 25-16 and 25-10.
"It's one of those things where if we can control the ball, we've been working with our hitters to be a little more aggressive," said Eckberg. "We didn't just stand with let's just push the ball outside. Our mentality has been not to be predictable.
"We've been talking about it for a week now. The girls know it. I make them repeat it. I don't think we were predictable tonight. The ball was evenly distributed tonight. We had some new swings that we tried out."
Setter McKenzie Burge had 24 assists on the night, and set up five different hitters.
Kylie Scovern had six kills to lead the Lady Mounties, while Emily Bush-Clark had five and Abby Showers added four.
On a night when the hitters were testing out new spots on the court, it was the libero who stood out for P-O.
Liz Robertson started her first game at libero, playing the position in the first two sets. She dug out several balls and had a five-point service run in the first set.
"We put her at libero for the first time tonight," said Eckberg. "I want to be competitive out there and I want every player to be the best they can be out on the court. She had a great service run there in game 1."
P-O's Morgan Williamson, the regular libero, donned the same color jersey as her teammates for the first two sets, racking up 10 service points, including two aces. She played libero in the third set and finished the night with 17 service points to lead all players.
The Lady Mounties gave up just three non-rally points to Clearfield in the first set, with the Lady Bison's Victoria Ireland serving up all three.
Clearfield did have a nice run in the first set, with Dakota Farmery putting down three straight kills to get the lead to 23-9.
"She did a nice job of pushing the ball when they weren't there, and she had a couple of nice kills," said Lady Bison head coach Sarah Fye. "She was under the weather tonight, but she did a pretty good job."
The Lady Mounties' Marlee Chutko had a four-point run in the first set, as her team won 25-9.
Clearfield took a 4-2 lead in the second set after a service error by P-O, but couldn't keep its momentum going as the Mounties took a 16-11 lead off the serve from Williamson.
P-O had four service errors in the set, but still managed to take the 25-16 victory.
"We tried some new things with our lineup," Eckberg said. "We want to keep trying to get better each game. We had some service errors, but I think every one of them was on the jump serve. I'm okay with that.
"We run a high risk-high reward serving philosophy. It did bite us some tonight, but I think in the end it earned as many points as it cost us, if not more."
While Clearfield had an average night the service line, the team did fare better on its serve-receive than it did the first time the two played.
The Lady Bison had several digs on the night, but finishing seemed to be the big problem.
"Serve-receive, we did a good job," Fye said. "Then we'd have a pass and couldn't get the set and the kill together. Philipsburg is one of the better serving teams we will face, and that's what we worked hard on. We did so well with our serve-receive. Katelyn Maltais did an excellent job tonight, we just couldn't put the sets or the kills together."
The Lady Mounties finished off the third set quickly, as Abby Showers and Williamson had six- and seven-point runs, respectively.
Bush-Clark had two kills and a block in the game, while Showers also had two kills.
P-O did a good job controlling the trio of Farmery, Krystal Wriglesworth and Amber Scott, who had a definite height advantage.
"You have to catch them off guard because they are so tall in the middle and they block the net from pin to pin," said Eckberg. "I didn't want them to be selling outside all night. That's not a good matchup for us. We had Emily and Marlee running different sets behind the setter and in front of the setter.
"I think that keeps their middle a little more hesitant, and that's why were able to score off that a little more tonight. If the middle is late getting outside and deflects it, it usually goes out of bounds. That's what we practiced all week, and it worked for us tonight."
Farmery had two kills in the set for Clearfield, finishing the night with seven.
Victoria Ireland led the Lady Bison with nine service points.
"Yesterday at practice we worked hard on passing and our ball-handling," said Fye. "Today, we just didn't open up our mouths. It was very frustrating. We talk about people knowing their role and what their job is on the court. We just were not with it tonight at all."
Clearfield dropped to 6-6 overall. The Lady Bison host Central Mountain on Monday.
Philipsburg-Osceola improved to 21-5 overall and 8-0 in Mountain League play.
The Lady Mounties also won the junior varsity game, taking the deciding third set, 15-5.
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