Wildkats volleyball squad off to hot start to begin 2018 season

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  • Wildkat Riley Kehr tips the ball over the net against Browning Monday. (Jeremy Weber photo)

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    Wildkat Kiera Brown goes up for a kill against Browning’s Candace Still Smoking and Abby Bullcalf Monday. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • Wildkat Riley Kehr tips the ball over the net against Browning Monday. (Jeremy Weber photo)

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    Wildkat Kiera Brown goes up for a kill against Browning’s Candace Still Smoking and Abby Bullcalf Monday. (Jeremy Weber photo)

The Columbia Falls volleyball team has opened the 2018 season on a roll, going 11-3 at the Tipoff Tournament in Browning over the weekend before sweeping Browning at home Monday evening.

It was all Wildkats Monday evening as Columbia Falls blew past visiting Browning in three sets, 25-12, 25-14 and 25-20.

“We got the win, but we still have a lot of work to do,” head coach Jolandie Brooks said about the victory. “We have a lot of holes in our defense that we need to tighten up. We will get back to work when we travel to Libby Friday.”

The Kats jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the opening set against Browning with kills by Ryley Kehr and Maddie Hoerner before back-to-back aces by Hoerner helped push the lead to 9-2.

The Kats continued to attack, pushing the lead as high as 14 before taking the set, 25-12.

It was more of the same in the second set as Angelica Street served three aces in the opening minutes to help the Kats build a quick 6-0 advantage. Lauren Falkner added two more aces as the Kats pushed their lead to 13-3.

Browning would come no closer than eight as the Kats easily took the second set, 25-14.

The third set was close for a while, with Browning jumping out to a 7-5 lead before the Kats used a 10-2 run to go up 15-9.

Browning cut the lead to three several times down the stretch, but could come no closer as the Kats pulled away for a 25-20 win to complete the sweep.

The Wildkat servers picked up 17 aces in the victory, led by Street’s six and Hoerner’s four, while Kehr led the Columbia Falls offense with 11 kills. Hannah Schweikert added 23 of the team’s 25 assists in the win.

Defensively, the Kats were led by Street’s 13 digs while Savvy Ellis added six. Hoerner and Kehr added one block each in the win.

The Kats were in the zone Friday as they opened the season at the Tipoff Tournament in Browning. Columbia Falls won all eight of its sets on the opening day of the tourney, downing Frenchtown 25-20 and 25-9, Dillon 25-11 and 25-20, Hamilton 25-11 and 25-22 and Butte Central 25-16 and 25-16.

The Kats saw some tougher competition on Saturday, splitting their matchup with Stevensville and losing two to Corvallis before downing Butte Central two more times.

“It was a good way to the open the season,” Brooks said. “We got to see what kind of mistakes we were making and now we know what to work on.”

The Kats will be at Libby Friday. The Freshmen game starts at 4:15, followed by JV and varsity.

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