Prep volleyball: Cowgirls dispatch Dawson County

A young, sophomore-laden Custer County High School varsity volleyball team is coming of age.

The Cowgirls’ mid-season surge continued on Tuesday, as they bedeviled the Dawson County Lady Devils 25-20, 25-22, 25-15.

“We just outplayed them as a team,” Custer County head coach Marci Mollman said. “We’re a more-cohesive team; a better-hitting team.”

Dawson kept it close in the first two games against a Cowboy squad that’s a mix of youth and experience. Mollman started four sophomore and three seniors Tuesday.

The Cowgirls also showed their depth, as Mollman substituted freely to create better matchups.

In the opener the Cowgirls never trailed, but never led by more than five points. They finished with a 3-0 run that included a crowd-pleasing block by 5’-10’’ sophomore middle hitter Morgan Johnstone.

In the second game, Dawson led until Cowgirl senior Jenna Swope took control mid-set. Swope, a 5’-6’’ outside hitter who has played on the varsity since her freshman season, sparked a 5-0 Custer County run with three service aces to give the Cowgirls a 12-11 lead, their first of the game.

“She’s one of our senior leaders. She’s a go-to player,” Mollman said.

After Swope closed Game 2 with one of her team-high 10 kills, the Cowgirls dominated the finale, building an early lead they maintained throughout.

“Miles City played good. They were just more steady than we were,” said Dawson County head coach Tiffaney Egan. “We just had too many unforced errors.”

Custer County, by contrast, did not.
“Our only errors were service errors,” Mollman said.

Even those were few and far between, as the Cowgirls improved to 12-9 overall, and 3-3 in the Eastern A Conference, with a third straight conference win. The squad was also 4-2 at the Dickinson Invitational this past weekend.

Mollman said her team is peaking at the right time, midway through the conference schedule.

“We told (the team) that the season is a marathon, not a 100-yard sprint,” she said.

The maturation of the squad’s sophomore starters has figured heavily in the team’s recent run of success, according to Mollman.

“It’s a different feel than playing in a JV game,” she said, noting her squad is now coming up to speed.

“Teamwork has been our focus in practice,” Mollman said. “We’ve worked on our communication, and we’re playing better as a team.”

But it was Swope who shined on the stat sheet. In addition to 10 kills, she recorded 14 of the team’s 52 digs, and four of its 10 service aces.

Senior setter Tori Ogolin notched a team-high 20 assists, while sophomore Saige Diegel logged six kills.

Next up for the Cowgirls is a trip to Sidney for a conference match on Tuesday. The varsity will take the floor at 7 p.m.

In junior varsity action on Tuesday, Custer County broke open a 1-1 match by winning two straight games. The Cowgirls won 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 15-13, 15-12).

Sophomore Raqi McAuliffe had five kills and sophomore Josie Chapweske logged 13 digs for the winners. Morgan Johnstone registered three of the Cowgirls’ six blocks.

The Cowgirl freshman team made it a clean sweep for Custer County, notching a 25-15, 25-23, 13-15, 15-3 victory.

Madi Maier had eight kills, Mackenzie Rask had 15 digs and six assists, and Sydney Johnstone and McKenna Friend had four aces each for the Cowgirls.