GREAT FALLS — Great Falls CMR defended its home court Saturday, taking down previously unbeaten Belgrade 25-20, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22 in Class AA volleyball action. The Rustlers improved to 6-2 on the year, while Belgrade dropped to 7-1.
Malia Allen got the Rustlers going in the first set with three straight aces, and a kill from Abby Carpenter put them ahead 4-0. Belgrade would hang around early and often during the first set, making it a tie game on three separate occasions. The Panthers would fall short in the opening set as CMR pulled away to take a 23-19 lead before finishing the set.
Belgrade found some momentum to start the second set, getting out to a 4-2 lead, but CMR answered back with an 8-2 run. Following the Rustlers' run, Belgrade fired back and evened the score at 12. Following the trend of the opening set, CMR pulled away once again for a 20-15 advantage. But the Panthers refused to fall to a two-set deficit and rallied to tie the game at 21 and grabbing a 25-23 set win.
The Rustlers dominated the third set, as they led wire to wire. They jumped out to an 8-2 lead before Belgrade got within two points. CMR pushed the lead back to 16-9. The Panthers clawed back in, making it 16-14, but the home squad finished strong to go ahead 2-1.
The final set had Belgrade get out to a fast 2-0 lead, but it would be their only lead of the set. They forced four ties and kept it close, but the Rustlers were too much to handle as they finished off the Panthers in four sets.