The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Don Ogle 

Lady Raiders Western Conference champs

 

October 11, 2017

Don Ogle

Sidney's Lady Raiders rose to the top of the always-tough Western Conference Saturday, walking away from the Cabela's Athletic Facility with the conference championship in hand.

Sidney captured the conference title with a three-set, 25-21, 19-25, 25-15 win over Gering, using a strong late rally to overcome the pesky Bulldogs.

Along the way, the Lady Raiders also got back for a loss to Alliance just two days earlier. On Thursday, Alliance took a four-set, 25-12, 25-20, 22-25, 25-21 regular season win on their home court. But in tournament pool play, Sidney turned the tables with a 25-22, 19-25, 25-21 win to earn its spot in the championship game.

That win against Alliance was a big part in Lu Howard's appreciation for her first Western Conference championship as a coach.

"It was so great, especially after losing to Alliance on Thursday," Howard said. "Coming back and winning against Alliance and the whole conference, that was nice."

Sidney wasn't as sharp on defense as Howard would have liked, and as the Lady Raiders went into timeouts in the final set, she kept the importance of that game element in front of them.

"The whole game we said girls, if you cannot pass, you cannot hit," Howard said.

Despite the struggle, Sidney managed to keep the ball off the floor with spectacular digs and saves – something the team has been working hard on.

"We've been working on getting lower to the floor and hustling," said Howard. "I don't think we're completely there yet, but we are improving."

Junior Katelyn Sylvester echoed those thoughts as she summed up the key to Sidney's championship match.

"We've worked hard on getting our passes off and getting our offense run," Sylvester said. "We've also been working on covering tips and coverage off the block."

Sidney, now 15-11, opened tournament play with a straight set win over Scottsbluff in pool play. The Lady Raiders were scheduled to play last night in Chadron.

Western Conference Tournament

Pool A

Mitchell def. Chadron 25-21, 25-23

Gering def. Chadron 25-15, 25-20

Gering def. Mitchell 18-25, 25-23, 25-18

Pool B

Alliance def. Scottsbluff 25-9, 25-19

Sidney def. Scottsbluff 25-18, 25-17

Sidney def. Alliance 25-22, 19-25, 25-21

Fifth Place

Chadron def. Scottsbluff 25-15, 25-22

Third Place

Alliance def. Mitchell 21-25, 25-19, 25-20

Championship

Sidney def. Gering 25-21, 19-25, 25-15

 

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