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‘Heads run record to 15-0, sweep Mission, Florence at Western B divisional

Two up, two down on Day 1 of the Western B divisional volleyball tournament for Anaconda.

Anaconda continued it’s run of nearly flawless volleyball on Thursday, sitting down Mission and Florence en route to a 15-0 overall record and potential berth in the undefeated finals Friday afternoon against Thompson Falls.

What’s even more impressive in the record is that Anaconda hasn’t lost a set since Oct. 15 — a 25-23 loss to Arlee in Game 3 — sweeping seven straight matches.

Although Anaconda’s 25-14, 25-20, 25-23 over Florence was a welcomed sight, head coach Korey Krumm saw plenty of room for improvement.

“They are scrappy as hell,” Krumm noted, giving a nod to the defensive effort from the 10-time defending Western B divisional champions.

That’s right, Florence, now into the losers bracket, has hoisted the divisional trophy for 10 years in a row. And, until this year, Anaconda hasn’t beaten the Lady Falcons. Now, they’ve done it three times and have dropped only one set in three matches against Florence.

Senior Brianna Puyear put on a hitting clinic in the middle Thursday night, recording a team-high 16 kills with only one hitting error. Outside hitter Aubrey Tuss added 13 kills while freshman Maniyah Lunceford and senior Mia Sullivan Sanders had seven apiece — all putting an never-ending barrage of offense on the front line of Florence.

On their heels after the Game 1 loss, Florence rebounded and showed why they are a seasoned, post season nightmare for any opponent. Up by three early at 6-3, Florence held the lead until Anaconda tied it at 15-all. Both teams traded side-outs until Anaconda broke the final tie at 20-19, winning six of the final seven points for the Game 2 victory.

In Game 3, Anaconda led 24-17 before junior Kassidy Yeoman nearly brought the Lady Falcons back from the service line. It was the longest rally of points for Florence in the match, but too little, too late.

Defensively, Malia Harris had 25 digs followed by Megan Reich with 19 and Tuss with 16. Senior Tiora Ferguson dished out 38 of Anaconda’s 40 assists and, along with Tuss, led the team in aces with two.

No matter how they got it done, the win was still sweet for coach Krumm and the girls.

“We didn’t play as well as we are capable of,” she said. “We had a lot of hitting errors, serving errors and we didn’t pass as well as we usually do. It’s reassuring to know that we can still win when we aren’t playing our best.”

Western B divisional bracket

Florence moves into the losers bracket and will take on Bigfork at 12:15 p.m. Anaconda moves into the undefeated finals at 4:45 p.m., taking on Thompson Falls. Winner of that match assures themselves of a state berth next weekend in Shelby.

“Moving forward the teams will continue to be better and better, and we need to play to our potential,” Krumm said.

Live coverage will be available on copperheadcountry.org or via the NFHS Network.

Anaconda def. Florence 3-0
KILLS — Anaconda 45 (Puyear 16, Tuss 13, Lunceford 7, Sullivan-Sanders 7, Reich 2). DIGS — Anaconda 90 (Harris 25, Reich 19, Tuss 16, DeMaoris 9, Ferguson 9, Lunceford 7, Puyear 3, Sullivan-Sanders 2). ASSISTS — Anaconda 40 (Ferguson 38, Harris 2). ACES — Anaconda 7 (Tuss 2, Ferguson 2, Puyear, Montgomery, Reich). BLOCKS — Anaconda 3 (Sullivan-Sanders 2, Lunceford 2).