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Copperhead netters rally for five-set thriller over archrival BC

Payton Bailey, left, Mia Sullivan Sanders and Megan Reich prepare for the Aubrey Tuss serve Tuesday at the MAC. Photo courtesy Bill Foley, Butte Sports

BUTTE — Down 2-1, Anaconda mounted a furious rally in Game 4 and led wire-to-wire in the rubber match, dropping Class A archival Butte Central 25-20, 18-25, 16-25, 14-25, 15-10 Tuesday evening at the Maroon Activities Center. 

Double-digit kills by seniors Aubrey Tuss and Brianna Puyear led the offensive performance for Anaconda, moving to 2-0 overall this season. 

Starting quick, Anaconda turned a three point deficit at 16-13 into a 25-20 win in Game 1. Tuss keyed the comeback, tallying seven of her team- and game-high 19 kills in the opener. 

In games two and three, Butte Central took away the outside and Tuss and started creating more of an offensive threat of their own. Avery Kelly and Amira Bolton each accounted for nine of BC’s 32 kills on the night while also keying a big double block that took its toll on the Copperhead attack. 

Brianna Puyear puts up the block against BC’s Avery Kelly Tuesday night at the MAC. Photo courtesy Bill Foley, Butte Sports

In Game 4, BC once again held an early lead until senior Megan Reich got on a roll at the service line. Up 16-13, Reich nearly served the game out to force the tiebreaker. 

It was all Anaconda in Game 5. Up 3-1, Anaconda never trailed and never looked back. Tuss had four kills in the decisive game and Puyear recorded three of her 17. Mia Sullivan-Sanders, quiet in Games 2-4, was rejuvenated at the end, recording two kills and a stuff block. 

Puyear’s impressive stat line of 17 kills also included a team-high four stuff blocks and three aces. In her first varsity appearance, freshman Makenna Patrick played three different positions including being a fixture in the middle in the final two games. 

Although official stats weren’t available in digs and assists, leading those categories for Anaconda was senior setter Tiora Ferguson and junior libero Malia Harris. 

Maci Reopelle dished out 30 assists for the Maroons while also leading the team with 17 digs. Libero Sophia Burton added 16 digs. 

Anaconda will see some tough Western B competition this weekend, traveling to Bigfork on Friday and Thompson Falls Saturday. 

Anaconda def. Butte Central 25-20, 18-25, 16-25, 25-14, 15-10
KILLS — Anaconda 45 (Aubrey Tuss 19, Briana Puyear 17, Mia Sullivan Sanders 5, Tiora Ferguson 2, Megan Reich 1, Makenna Patrick 1), BC 32 (Avery Kelly 9, Amira Bolton 9, Marissa Anderson 8, Ella Moodry 5, Mati McGree 1). ASSISTS — Anaconda n/a, BC 31 (Maci Reopelle 30, Anderson 1). BLOCKS — Anaconda 8 (Puyear 4, Sullivan Sanders 2, Ferguson 1, Tuss 1), BC 6 (Kelly 3, McGree 1.5, Moodry 1, Anderson .5). ACES — Anaconda 10 (Malia Harris 4, Puyear 3, Reich 2, Ferguson 1), BC 4 (Sophia Burton, Delaney Hasquet, Avery Kelly, Marissa Anderson). DIGS — Anaconda n/a, BC 67 (Reopelle 17, Burton 16, Kelly 7, Sofee Thatcher 7, Anderson 6, Bolton 4, Moodry 4, McGree 3, Hasquet 3).