LCSC volleyball team wins conference title
BUTTE, Mont. -- For the past three weeks, the Lewis-Clark State College women's volleyball team has been in control of its own destiny in the Frontier Conference title chase. Match by match, the Warriors have taken care of business.
On Saturday, they took care of the conference title.
Getting off to a solid start in each game and using their usual balanced attach, the Warriors claimed their first conference title since 2003 by sweeping Montana Tech 30-19, 30-27, 30-26 on Saturday.
"This is great," said LCSC first-year coach Jen Greeny, whose club was picked to finish sixth in the conference coaches' preseason poll. "This is really a result of this team's hard work. It has been a complete team effort, which says a lot about the character of these women."
The Warriors, ranked No. 20 in the NAIA, finish the season with five consecutive wins to stand 18-5 overall and 12-2 in conference play. Westminster, which defeated Montana-Western on Saturday, finished second in the conference at 11-3, while Montana Tech was third at 10-4. If Tech had defeated LCSC, the top thre teams would have tied for the conference title.
The Warriors, who clinced the top seed in the conference tournament after Friday's win based on tiebreakers, also earn an automatic berth into the Region I tournament along with Westminster. The top two teams earn automatic berths, along with the highest finisher in the conference tournament among the six remaining teams.
The conference tournament kicks off next Friday in Billings, Mont. LCSC will face the last-place team in the conference, Montana-Western, which is winless this season. That match is scheduled for noon, Pacific time. The eight-team conference tournament is a single-elimination championship, but with a third and fourth place game for the semifinal losers.
Against Montana Tech, the Warriors jumped out to early leads in all thee games, but Tech did stage a big rally to cut the margin in the second contest.
The Warriors simply had too much firepower for Tech. LCSC hit .339 in the match, compared to .192 for Tech, and also out-blocked Tech 10-5.
Anile Clemente led the Warrior attack with 12 kills, no errors, and a .500 hitting percentage. Marie Balmer added nine kills, no errors, and a .600 hitting percentage. Cintia Alessi had 11 kills, while Julie Maciboba had seven, and Brittney Kubik and Dana Christiansen finished with six each. Lisa Davis had 18 assists, whiile Kim Fong had 15.
Serving again was a key for LCSC. The Warriors had nine service aces, including five from Alessi and two from Katie Hinrichs. Alessi and Lindsay Scott finished with 13 digs apiece, while Kubik had three blocks.
"I think we were really smart with the ball," Greeny said. "It was great to see us get off well in all three games. I thought we got out on them right away, especially in the first game. We hit .400 in that game."