Lady Longhorns stampede over Pioneers, 3-0
September 9, 2020
The new kids on the block might just be the toughest kids on the block.
The Fort Benton Longhorns left no uncertainty on the floor Friday night that they will challenge for a district crown, as they swept away visiting Big Sandy, 25-3, 25-5, 25-12.
The Pioneers fell to 0-3 in league play and could salvage little more optimism for the ride home than that at least it made for a short trip.
“It was just disappointing because, obviously, last week we didn’t win but we showed up to play,” said Pioneers head coach Brittany McKenney. “To turn around and play like we did tonight was tough.”
Modest totals were enough to represent team highs: a pair of kills from sophomore Laynee Ophus, four digs apiece by junior Tavie Wortman and sophomore Caydence Pleninger. Ophus and Pleninger each recorded a block.
“We had more digging errors than we had good digs,” lamented assistant coach Katie Nicholson.
The Longhorns’ reputation as a well-oiled and strong-hitting machine preceded them and Fort Benton readily occupied rent-free space in their guests’ heads.
“Right off the bat, I could tell my girls were nervous and it showed. It’s about how you channel those nerves and we didn’t channel them well … we were playing scared and we just can’t afford to do that,” McKenney said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Fort Benton’s effort. They do have a strong team and they put the ball down.”
If any bright spot could be found in the Pioneers’ effort, McKenney and Nicholson agreed their attack showed aggressiveness but the Longhorns’ defense proved nearly impenetrable.
“Attacking-wise, we tried harder than we had (a week earlier),” McKenney said. “We made more attempts of trying to swing and hit the ball.”
The Pioneers hoped to bounce back Saturday night in Stanford against the Denton-Geyser-Stanford Bearcats. More details from that game will be available in next week’s edition of The Mountaineer. (***Editor’s note: Or stats sent by coaches can be added here upon receipt of them.***)
“We can’t do that again,” McKenney said of the listless effort in the Chouteau County seat. “We need to get back to that (energy of opening week) and how that feels … get out of our heads and do the little things right.”