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Forsyth Lady Dogies advance to semi-finals
By JOSH SAMUELSON Star Sports Editor
The Forsyth Lady Dogies are into the undefeated semifinal of the Montana Class B State Tournament this afternoon. But it didn’t come easily.
The Lady Dogies beat Deer Lodge in four games in the first round and then needed to come back and beat fellow Southern B foe Red Lodge in five games in the quarterfinals.
The Lady Dogies will meet another familiar opponent in the undefeated semifinal, tonight at 6 p.m., in Bozeman. Forsyth will match up with Huntley Project, who has handed Forsyth all six of their losses on the season.
Huntley rolled in their two wins on Thursday, sweeping Choteau in the first round and Florence in the quarterfinals. Florence had swept Boulder in the first-round. Red Lodge, the third-seed from the Southern B, swept Fairfield, the top seed from the Northern B.
In the first round for Forsyth against Deer Lodge, they rolled to a 25-19 win in the first set and 25-15 in the second. Deer Lodge avoided the sweep with a 25-21 win in the third set.
In the fourth set, Forsyth’s biggest lead came at 23-18. But Deer Lodge rallied to cut the score to 24-23. A block from Kayla Fulton gave the Lady Dogies the 25-23 win.
Forsyth, who features a very strong group of hitters, had 66 kills in the match. Kaylee Zard led the way with 21, Ruby Kallenbach had 15 and Sami Hagadone added 14. Fulton had 49 assists and Kallenbach had three aces. Hagadone finished with four blocks and Meranda Sargent led the back row defense with 29 digs.
In the quarterfinals, the Lady Dogies took on a Red Lodge team they have seen multiple times this season. Last weekend at the Southern B Divisional Tournament, the teams met twice with Forsyth winning both in three-game sweeps.
And the way things started last night, it looked like another sweep.
The Lady Dogies broke open a close game, outscoring the Lady Rams 12-3 down the stretch to earn a 25-13 win.
But then Forsyth fell apart as Red Lodge drastically improved their game. In the second game, the Lady Rams returned the favor with a 25-13 win and then ran away with a 25-14 win in the third game.
Facing defeat, the Lady Dogies fell behind 12-7 early in the match. They were able to tie the score twice and finally retook the lead at 17-16 after a pair of Zard blocks. From there, Forsyth took care of business and forced a fifth game with a 25-19 win.
Early in the fifth game, the teams were tied at two, but Forsyth scored the next five points, including two blocks from Hagadone, a kill from Zard and an ace from Kallenbach.
From there, Red Lodge would get as close as two, but the Lady Dogies always had an answer and cruised to a 15-10 win to advance.
The Lady Dogies finished with 44 kills as a team, as compared to 54 for Red Lodge. Zard led the team with 13, while Hagadone and Kallenbach each had 12. Fulton finished with 39 assists and the team served six aces.
Defensively, Forsyth and Red Lodge each finished with 100 digs. Allie Cole and Kallenbach each had 24 to lead the Lady Dogeis. Hagadone had five blocks and Zard finished with three.
Rylee Kane had a good match for the Lady Rams, with three aces, 17 kills and a team-high 26 digs. Daniella Russell led the team with 19 kills and four blocks.
Forsyth def. Deer Lodge
25-19, 25-15, 21-25, 25-23
Forsyth- Kills: 66 (Kaylee Zard 21). Assists: 58 (Kayla Fulton 49). Dig: 97 (Meranda Sargent 29). Blocks: 6 (Sami Hagadone 4). Aces: 6 (Ruby Kallenbach 3).
Deer Lodge- Kills: 35 (Dani Walker 10). Assists: 32 (Bailee Senecal 29). Digs: 60 (Lacie Thomas 12). Blocks: 8 (Shayla Therriault 4). Aces: 6 (Thomas, Hunter Therriault 2).
Forsyth def. Reed Lodge
25-13, 13-25, 14-25, 25-19, 15-10
Forsyth- Kills: 44 (Kaylee Zard 13). Assists: 41 (Kayla Fulton 39). Digs: 100 (Allie Cole, Ruby Kallenbach 24). Blocks: 10 (Sami Hagadone 5). Aces: 6 (Kallenbach 3).
Red Lodge- Kills: 54 (Daniella Russell 19). Assists: 52 (Natalie Hilderman 47). Digs: 100 (Rylee Kane 26). Blocks: 14 (Russell 4). Aces: 9 (Kane 3).