The big picture says the Billings Senior Broncs volleyball team easily maintained its No. 1 ranking and its unbeaten record Thursday night.
Break the 25-15, 25-13, 25-16 victory over Bozeman into smaller chunks, though, and the little picture says there are still things for the Broncs to work on.
The Broncs themselves see that.
“We went out there with a lot of energy and kind of lost it here and there,” said Broncs setter Jace Henderson, who had an overall line of 30 assists, three aces and three blocks. “We have three things that we need to do, and it’s fight, focus and finish. We definitely finally found the fight, we’re still working on the focus, and that’s kind of what we lacked tonight. But we definitely finished strong, I think.”
In making their conference — and their home court — debut, the Broncs (13-0, 1-0) started by scoring the match’s first six points. Unforced errors, a problem for the team last season, crept up again in the middle of the match, but by the end, the Broncs rediscovered some of that early form and were never really threatened by the Hawks.
Bozeman (5-3, 1-1) never led, and Senior closed the three sets with runs of six, five and four points.
“It just kind of seemed to start off slow, just because we had a lot of points to start off with,” said Andrea Bowers, who had 11 of the Broncs’ 35 kills. “So we had to fight back from that, but I think we picked it up and finished pretty well.”
Kiahna Steiner had 11 kills to lead the Broncs, while Taylor Mims combined with Henderson to form a formidable block, especially in the third set. Mims had a match-high four blocks, and Jessica Haley led the way with 15 digs.
Bozeman had just 20 kills, led by six from Amy Davis. The Hawks had just two aces to Senior’s nine.
“We had some opportunities, we competed hard, I thought,” Bozeman coach Katie Laslovich said. “But they were just better than us tonight.”
Senior coach Jeff Carroll called it a “choppy match” for his side and said it’s time for the Broncs to start improving on the little things to advance their game.
“I’m not going to fault our kids’ effort or their fight,” he said. “They continue to bring that every single match, so from that standpoint, I’m pleased. But we are going to have to get a lot more technically sound if we’re going to be as good as we can be.”