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Friday, April 2, 2021

Volleyball: Condon stuns Echo

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CONDON – The Condon Blue Devils were eager for their rematch against the Echo Cougars and emotions were high on Saturday.

In a back and forth match between two of the Big Sky’s best teams, Condon came out on top in four sets (25-20, 25-21, 18-25, 27-25).

Echo had been in the zone since beating Condon at home on March 2nd. The Cougars had not lost a single set since that game – reeling off 3-0 victories in four straight games.

But Condon dug in and wanted this one.

The first set saw strong serving from Kiara Takagi, who scored the first 3 points of the game on her serves. Condon looked strong but Echo came back to lead 15-17 with hard kills from Charlei Harwood. But solid play from Kenzie LaRue, Megan Aamodt and Sidney Geer at the net gave Condon the lead 22-19. LaRue’s tip and serve sealed the 1st set for Condon.

Stephen Allen/Times-Journal
The Blue Devils celebrate an ace in the first set.

The second set started with Echo looking to rebound and the Cougars were up 5-2, getting precision serves from senior Natalie Toombs. But Condon came back behind Takagi’s serves, including back to back aces. Another ace from LaRue and a block at the net got Condon back into the game. Strong spikes from Megan Aamodt and Sidney Geer had Condon on top and with the momentum, eventually winning 25-21.

Stephen Allen/Times-Journal
Senior Sidney Geer spikes the ball in the first set of Saturday’s game against Echo.

The third game was close and it looked like Condon might sweep the game but Echo regrouped and found their groove. The game went back and forth and was tied five times. With the score 15-15, Echo got strong play from Harwood, Toombs and Elliot Glenn – winning the set 18-24.

The fourth set looked like it was Echo’s at the start, as the Cougars jumped out to a 0-6 lead. Hard spikes from Echo’s Charlei Harwood had the Blue Devils on their heels. But Condon regrouped after Sidney Geer had a hard spike and then back to back ace serves. Junior Abby Colby also got an ace and Megan Aamodt had an ace. The teams traded points after being tied at 19, then 20, 21, 24 and 25.

Kenzie LaRue’s last two serves and hard spikes from Aamodt sealed it for Condon, who won the set 27-25.

Stephen Allen/Times-Journal
The Blue Devils celebrate after winning the second set.

Condon Coach Taylor Darden was very happy with the win. “They played really well together and when we play well, pretty much nobody can beat us,” Darden said.

Stephen Allen/Times-Journal
Condon Head Coach Taylor Darden (right) and Assistant Teren Humphrey (center) have Condon at the top of the league.

The game was obviously an important one for the team and the first year coach felt that her squad wanted revenge for the early loss in the season. “I could just feel the energy that they were ready to go and we had a great practice this week – I’m just super proud of them.”

Coach Darden says that the team will use the win as they are on the final stretch of the season. “Echo is probably the best in the league and now that we know that we can beat them, we can beat any team – but we have to practice tough for the rest of the season and look for improvements from here on out.”

Darden says that she saw solid play from senior Kiara Takagi and that was a difference maker in the game but that it took every member of the team to get the win. “They all really pulled it out and were positive and played together and that’s super important for me.”

Up next, Condon will host Bickleton on March 30th and then Ione on April 1st.

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