Maybe the emotion was lacking a little, and perhaps the passing early in the match left a little to be desired.
Eventually, though, the Billings West Golden Bears found their way in a 25-23, 25-13, 25-20 Eastern AA volleyball victory over Great Falls CMR on Saturday afternoon at the West gym.
The first set was mostly a battle of unforced errors on both sides and the Bears had to overcome a 20-17 deficit, but West was in control the rest of the way to earn a weekend sweep of the Great Falls schools.
“I think our passing definitely improved, and we just started playing better as a team,” West setter Christine Wing said. “We definitely started communicating better, and we woke up. That’s always a good thing.”
KC Christensen had match highs with 15 kills and five digs to help lead the Bears, who came back from a two-set deficit to beat Great Falls on Friday night.
Sluggish starts are becoming an unfortunate routine for the Bears, Christensen said.
“You have to have the mindset to just go for it,” said Christensen, who got the Bears rolling in the second set with four early kills to stake them to a 7-3 lead.
“We need to practice hard in practice and come out that way in the games.”
A six-point serving run by Sadie Lehenbauer, combined with a series of kills from Christensen, Sydney Lich and Katie Zink helped the Bears gain a 23-8 lead in the second set.
West led by as many as 21-9 in the third set before the Rustlers made a harmless rally to close within 24-20 before Christensen ended the match with her final kill.
Lich added seven kills and 13 digs, and Madison Pottruff had 12 digs.
Wing finished with 28 assists and two of the Bears’ six aces.
West coach Kelly Deming said her team’s struggles against winless CMR had little to do on the physical side.
“Mentally, that’s probably where we struggle a little bit,” said Deming, whose team improved to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the league ahead of Tuesday’s match with top-ranked Senior. “They didn’t play, obviously, as good as they could (on Friday). But the thing that was cool was they battled back and they won three straight sets, and that was a huge accomplishment.
“Allowing their brain to recover? I seriously don’t think that has happened yet. Bodies are recovered, absolutely. But we weren’t as crisp, and that showed today.”
Danta LaBuda led CMR (0-2, 0-8) with seven kills and four aces.