Saturday, December 4, 2021

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Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves take on Potter County Battlers

It’s the time of year when the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves take on the Potter County Battlers in their long-time Missouri River rivalry. Who does volleyball better – West River or East River?

Even though the Braves haven’t had the best of seasons (8-13), they were still hoping to bring down the Battlers (16-5) when they showed up at the Gettysburg High School gymnasium on October 12.  C-EB’s Cassie Carter has the reputation of being one of the hardest hitters in the region; as does Potter County’s Makenna Miller. Fireworks were expected.  If the Braves could put together a great game on offense and defense, they just might be able to steal a win.

The shootout between Makenna Miller and Cassie Carter materialized immediately.  Both started off the game with a big boom.  Makenna slammed her first kill to make the score 3 to 0 in the opening set and then on the very next play Cassie rocketed a crosscourt kill to put the Braves on the scoreboard – 3 to 1.

With the ball back, Cassie Carter cranked a hard serve over the net in a textbook jump serve. Unfortunately for the Braves, the line drive went long and turned the ball right back over to the Battlers.

LeAunah Farlee for the Braves skied to hammer a kill and, like her teammate, it went too long and made the score 5 to 1.  Adjusting her form, LeAunah Farlee jumped and spanked the ball hard on the very next play to get her first official kill of the game.  More importantly, it was obvious that the underdogs were looking to take a bite out of the Battlers.  

Unfortunately, the Braves could not sustain an offensive attack because the Battlers exerted their dominance up front; getting two big kill shots to make the score 9 to 2. Then when they laced an ace, Coach Mary Mitchell jumped up and asked for a time out to stop the Battlers from rolling.

The momentum breaker didn’t work. After the time out the Battlers laced another ace and went on a five-point run to push the score out to 15 to 2. LeAunah Farlee out-dueled the Battlers’ two big frontline players to get the ball back as the ball dropped on the Braves’ side of the net. The Braves’ luck didn’t hold though. Once Kay’Leigh Red Fox got a block on the Battlers’ big sophomore middle hitter to make the score 16 to 4, they just could not generate any offensive attack against Potter County.  

The Braves were doing their best and giving it their all: hitting the ball hard, trying one trick shot after the other, and diving for loose balls all over the court. It’s just that the Battlers’ defense was better.  Plus, Potter County has one too many big hitters. They kept the Braves on their heels to finally take the first set 25 to 8.

With eight Battlers recording kills as compared to only three Braves, Potter County took the second set as well – 25 to 10.  Eight Battlers registered 14 kills in this set to the Braves’ three.  Sydnee White Feather, Leila Miner, and of course, Cassie Carter, all came through for C-EB.  It’s always good to see Sydnee slamming a ball for a point because she is so animated and full of pure joy.  Leila’s kill was unexpected, and it not only surprised the Battlers but Leila herself when it came from the backrow.  Cassie smoked her kill with so much heat on it that it banged off the court with a boom.  No one hits the ball harder than Number 10. 

The Braves were still looking to make a statement and came out hitting the ball hard in the third set.  Cassie Carter started the set off by torching the ball over the net with her patented jump serve. She finally managed to score an ace on her third serve to make the score 0 to 3 in favor of CEB.

Everyone was shocked and hoping for a comeback by the Braves when Makenna Miller jumped up on the right side and absolutely hammered the ball, only to be equaled by Lauryn Keckler simultaneously jumping up on the other side of the net to block Makenna’s thundering kill shot.

Shivers went up everyone’s spine at the loud sound of slapping skin which penetrated every crack and crevice of the gym when Lauryn blocked the shot.  It got the Braves dancing and screaming, but the celebration didn’t last that long. On the next play Makenna got the kill she was looking for to tie the score at 4 all.  

From there the Battlers went on a 6-point run until LeAunah Farlee registered a block on the Battlers’ big hitter.  LeAunah’s stuff didn’t slow the Battlers, though. They went on another 6-point run. When they got their first ace of the set to make the score 18 to 7, Coach Mitchell called for another time out to regroup.  Sadly, the Battlers continued to apply pressure on offense and stepped up their defense to shut down any attack attempted by C-EB.  Potter County won the set and match – 25 to 9.

The Braves may have lost this cross-river rivalry, but Coach Mitchell has to be pleased with the performance of her girls nevertheless.  Cassie did not get her usual bushel of kills, but she did let everyone know she can bring the heat and match any opponent shot for shot.  Carter’s textbook serve needs to be taught to the underclassmen because it is picture prefect.  Also, once LeAunah Farlee, Sydnee White Feather, and Lauryn Keckler can string a series of hard hits together they could very well be lethal.  The key to getting these hitters loaded up to fire off rockets is their setter, Lainey Peacock.

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