The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Whitehall Ledger 

Breakthrough season ends for Whitehall


November 11, 2020

Maxine Hoagland and Brynna Wolfe will be two top returners for next year's squad. File photo

For the first time in 16 years, the Whitehall High School volleyball team had the opportunity to play at the Southern B Divisional Tournament.

While the team was unable to advance out of last week's tournament in Red Lodge, it was truly a season to remember for the Lady Trojans.

Head Coach Kyla Simon said she is very proud of her team of 8 girls was able to make it to Divisionals.

"Last year's season gave us some momentum and motivation and placing at Districts was at the top of the list of team goals this year. I'm so happy for them that they were able to work together to accomplish that. One of the greatest experiences in life is working to accomplish a goal and doing it with people you deeply care about makes it even more special. This group was very committed and most of them put in a lot of time in the off-season. I hope that this season motivates the younger players coming up to do the same," she said.

Whitehall would open the tournament with an 18-25, 10-25, 9-25 loss to high-powered and eventual second-place finisher Joliet.

Simon wanted the team to come out fired up against Joliet as well as playing with confidence and said they did just that.

"It's so amazing to watch these girls make amazing plays and score points against a team like Joliet. We worked so hard in practice on improving our block this season and this game in particular I thought we were able to get more touches at the net than we ever have and we were able to slow down a lot of hard-hit balls to set up our offense. Unfortunately, we just weren't able to execute a lot of the time," she said.

Kendra Klapan led the team with 14 kills, Brynna Wolfe had 14 aces, Meagan Johnson had 15 digs and Maxine Hoagland had one block.

The Lady Trojans were eliminated with a 14-25, 20-25, 16-25 loss to conference foe Townsend.

"We just weren't able to execute our game plan. We wanted to work to get them out of system and to be on the attack, but just couldn't stay in our offense and unfortunately gave them too many free balls and easy play balls to capitalize on," Simon said.

Klapan had six kills, Hoagland finished six kills, Dalaney Scafani had a team-high three aces, Wolfe finished with 16 assists and Johnson had 18 digs.

"This was truly a great season. I'm so proud of them and so grateful to our seniors that we will lose. I genuinely believe that this was the best example of teamwork I could have imagined. This group trusted and believed in each other relentlessly and pushed each other to improve all season long. The only thing better than that is that they are also good people off the court, which is the most important quality of all," she said.

The future of the program was also discussed by Simon.

"One of the many lessons sports and extracurriculars teach us is that if you want something or want to be good at something, you have to work hard for it. This group has worked hard for it. There were lots of open gyms this summer that only 3 or 4 people showed up. The 3 or 4 that showed up every single time are the ones that had successful numbers and were our successful players," she said. "My hope is that the motivation is there and that more young women will try out for the team. We are in a conference of 6 teams in which the other 5 teams are getting tryout numbers of over 35 young women and some with close to 50. The players we have returning next year are great players and possess all of the qualities that good athletes should possess, but we need support and numbers to come up around them to build more successful teams in the future."


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