Allison Olsen and Leticia Degracia rise up to block the ball. Olsen had 13 kills between matches with Buffalo and Thermopolis last week.

On Sept. 17, Wyopreps.com released its second poll of the 2020 volleyball season, voted on by coaches and media, with the Lady Cats moving up one spot from last poll.

Douglas now sits in fourth place in the 3A conference at 48 points, with a sizeable gap between themselves and the third place Mountain View Buffalos who are at 114 points. Rawlins and Pinedale are tied for first place in the conference.

The Lady Cats will likely close that gap slightly after opening their conference play with two victories on the road over quadrant opponents Buffalo and Thermopolis Thursday and Saturday last week.

Quadrant games will be even more important this year than previous seasons due to COVID-19 guidelines.

Instead of one school hosting a regional tournament, the highest seed in each quadrant will host the matches that determine which teams from the quadrant will qualify for the state tournament in Casper.

“Whenever we play Buffalo, Thermopolis and Newcastle, we really want to get those wins so we can host late in October,” head coach Angela Rhoades said.

With half of the season in the books, Douglas is the clear favorite to win the 3A Northeast quadrant.

The Lady Cats 9-1 record is nearly six games above second place Buffalo’s 3-5 record, who they defeated soundly in a 3-0 sweep.

None of the sets were close at 25-16, 25-19 and 25-16, respectively.

“I felt like we did a nice job staying pretty focused in this match,” Rhoades said. “We passed and served pretty well and setter Kamdynn Townsend was able to move the ball around to a lot of different kids.

“I really felt like both teams hit the ball pretty well but our libero Chloe Collins was the difference in the match. She picked up a lot of tough digs in the seam that kept us in control.”

The team kept a hold of that control when they rolled into Thermopolis for a match with the 0-8 Bobcats.

The match once again resulted in a sweep, with the Lady Cats winning 25-10, 25-17 and 25-14.

“Thermopolis is actually kind of a tough place to play, the gym is really big and you just kind of lose sound and the atmosphere is really quiet there most times,” Rhoades said. “Crowds have definitely been down this year because of COVID but this just felt so empty and I thought we had a hard time getting up for the game.

“We definitely did a lot of good things though. We did get the ball to many different hitters which will help us down stretch.”

Senior Townsend helped spread the ball around and put her teammates in position to score in both games with 63 assists and eight ace serves.

Collins, Allyson Fertig, Braiden Johnson and Allison Olsen were also key contributors.

Collins had 33 digs and six ace serves. Fertig led the team with 26 kills and also contributed four blocks. Johnson and Olsen had 16 and 13 kills, respectively.

Douglas will face off with two 4A opponents on the road for its next matches, traveling to Kelly Walsh High School Sept. 26 for matches with 6-2 KW at 11 a.m. and 4-6 Campbell County at 2:30 p.m.

“This is a great chance for us to really get better,” Rhoades said. “Both of these 4A teams are really good this year, and it will definitely be a challenge for us. I am really looking forward to it.”

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