The Choteau High School Lady Bulldogs won the District 1B tournament title Saturday night, holding off an upset-minded Fairfield Eagles team, 3-1, in the championship match.
The Choteau girls will advance as the first seed from the 1B into the Northern B Divisional Tournament Nov. 3-5 at Glasgow High School. Fairfield will go in as the second seed from the 1B, Cut Bank as the third seed and Shelby as the fourth seed. The top two teams from the divisional tournament will advance to the state tournament Nov. 10-12 in Bozeman on the Montana State University campus.
In the championship match, Choteau opened with powerful, consistent play, limiting passing and hitting errors and doing a good job of returning Fairfield’s serve. In the first set, the score stayed close in the first rotation with it tied at 7-7 when Choteau began to pull away, scoring on strong hitting by Jessica Davis, Amber Graf and Alisha Breen. The turning point in the match came when Breen earned the team sideout with a blistering kill, making the score, 16-10, Choteau’s favor. With Graf serving, Choteau scored on an ace, four kills by Breen, one kill by Lexie Sullivan and a Fairfield passing error to take a huge, 23-10 lead. Jill Barta got a big stuff in the center to give Fairfield one last chance, but Breen thwarted a rally, sending an off-speed push to fall in an uncovered hole and giving Choteau the 24-11 lead. With Kelci May serving, Choteau won the set, 25-11, on a Fairfield hitting error.
In the second set, the Choteau girls stayed on top, pulling away from a 3-3 tie early, and keeping the lead for the rest of the set. Davis and Graf played a big role in this set, with Davis pounding down kills and blocks in the middle and Graf playing the outside effectively. Breen again showed her versatility in the middle and the outside, finding holes to put down both power kills and off-speed light touches. Fairfield’s setter, Jordyn Johnson, got good kills off sets to Linnea Zier, Barta, Sydne Steinbach and Cassidy Coverdell. Choteau won this set, 25-19, with Davis putting down the final winning kill.
In the third set, Choteau struggled on serve receive, and Fairfield’s hitters made fewer hitting errors, keeping their kills on the court and finding their way around Davis, Breen, Graf and Sullivan in Choteau’s front row. The Fairfield girls jumped out to a huge, 12-4 lead early in the match. The Choteau girls, whose play was hampered by both passing and hitting mistakes, settled down late in the set and earned the sideout on a Fairfield hitting error. Still down, 16-20, May rotated back to serve and Choteau began a four-point rally, scoring on a Fairfield lift, an ace and two big kills by Breen to tie the set, 20-20. Steinbach put down a huge kill to give Fairfield the serve and the lead, 21-20 and then aced the Choteau girls for a 22-20 lead. Her next line-drive serve, however, missed the court and Choteau was back in it, 21-22, with Breen serving. Davis pounded down a kill to tie the score again, 22-22, but Choteau then put a kill out of bounds, and Fairfield took the lead, 23-22. The lead went back and forth as the girls tied the score at 24-24 and 25-25. Barta smashed a power kill into a mid-court hole and Fairfield took the lead, 26-25, and, with Zier serving, won the set, 27-25 on another big, unblocked Barta hit.
In the fourth and final set, Choteau trailed again early in the set but put together a rally with Breen serving and scored on a Davis block, a Davis kill, an ace, a Fairfield hitting error and a kill by Sullivan to take the lead, 8-5. The Fairfield girls came back though and the set was tied three more times, before Choteau strung together a couple of runs to take a 20-16 lead. Fairfield stayed with the Lady Dawgs though drawing to within one point before they turned over the serve on an errant free ball and Choteau, leading 21-19, put the match away. With Sullivan serving, the Lady Dawgs put up the final four points, scoring on one kill by Graf and three Fairfield hitting errors to win the set and match, 25-19.
Choteau had five service errors in the match compared to four for Fairfield. The championship match was highlighted with huge volleys and big saves as girls on both sides of the net scrambled to play every ball. Choteau’s back row, Sarah Stringfellow, libero Nicole Munoz, Sullivan, Mikayla Renteria and Breen came up with big digs to keep the ball in play multiple times. While Davis, Breen and Graf dominated with the power hits, Sullivan and Ellie Zwerneman both put down timely kills to keep the momentum going for their team. Coach Ann Funk also rotated in Jena Sinton to serve and Carlene Hanson in the front.
Friday, Oct. 28
Match 1: Shelby def. Conrad, 25-20, 15-25, 25-27, 25-15, 15-13
Shelby leaders — Digs 55 (Tawnie Gardipee 13, Emily Christiaens 10); Kills 41 (Kayla Leary 16, Christians 12); Assists 36 (Connie Miller 24, Jenna Conant 11); Blocks 14 (Kendra Nickol 4, Leary 4); Aces 15 (Miller 4, Christiaens 3).
Conrad leaders — Digs 19 (Taylor Judisch 5); Kills 55 (Rashelle Johns 18, Judisch 17); Assists 49 (Brittany Green 34, Hayley Orcutt 10); Blocks 21 (Ciara Bender 8, Johns 8); Aces 13 (Judisch 5, Bender 3).
Match 2: Cut Bank def. Rocky Boy, 25-4, 25-20, 25-13
Cut Bank leaders — Digs 23 (Jen Greenwald 6, Jill Altenburg 5); Kills 30 (Jordyn Vaile 12, Altenburg 5); Assists 26 (Reedie Spencer 25); Blocks 1 (Spencer); Aces 10 (Spencer 5, Altenburg 2).
Match 3: Choteau def. Shelby 25-11, 25-16, 25-27, 25-17
Choteau leaders — Digs 93 (Nicole Munoz 22, Lexie Sullivan 18); Kills 53 (Alisha Breen 18, Jessica Davis 10); Assists 53 (Kelci May 49); Blocks 17 (Davis 6.5, Breen 4.5); Aces 6 (Breen 2, Jena Sinton 2).
Shelby leaders — Digs 49 (Gardipee 14, Kelsey Smedsrud 11); Kills 40 (Leary 14, Christiaens 8); Assists 32 (Miller 19, Conant 12); Blocks 12 (Nickol 4); Aces 7 (Conant 2, Smedsrud 2).
Match 4: Fairfield def. Cut Bank 19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-20
Fairfield leaders — Aces 4 (Jill Barta 2); Kills 56 (Barta 21); Blocks 28 (Barta 10, Cassidy Coverdell 10); Digs 81 (Liz Anderson 24); Assists 40 (Jordyn Johnson 37).
Cut Bank leaders — Aces 8 (Jen Greenwald 3); Kills 38 (Jill Altenburg 12, Jordyn Vaile 10); Blocks 10 (Erika Karcher 4); Digs 86 (Greenwald 19, Kayla Kraft 4); Assists 8 (Greenwald 3).
Match 5: Shelby def. Rocky Boy 25-7, 25-9, 25-19 (loser out)
Shelby leaders — Aces 16 (Connie Miller 8, Kayla Leary 4); Kills 27 (Clair Hooper 8, Jess Mahr 4, Leary 4); Blocks 1 (Mahr); Digs 40 (Tawnie Gardipee 7, Kelsey Smedsrud 7); Assists 24 (Miller 16, Leary 4, Jenna Conant 2).
Match 6: Cut Bank def. Conrad 25-12, 25-16, 25-19 (loser out)
Cut Bank leaders — Aces 6 (Greenwald 5, Kraft 1); Kills 27 (Vaile 11, Altenburg 6); Blocks 9 (Vaile 5); Digs 40 (Kraft 14, Greenwald 10); Assists 21 (Reedie Spencer 20, Vaile 1).
Conrad leaders — Aces 5 (Brittany Greyn 2); Kills 17 (Johns 8, Judisch 4); Blocks 13 (Johns 7); Digs 14 (Bender 3); Assists 11 (Greyn).
Match 7: Choteau def. Fairfield 25-22, 25-16, 25-21
Choteau leaders — Aces 6 (Breen 2, Sullivan 2); Kills 39 (Breen 17, Davis 9); Blocks 8 (Breen 3, Sullivan 2.5); Digs Total Unavailable (Munoz 11, Sullivan 8); Assists 39 (May 35).
Fairfield leaders — Aces 4 (Linnea Zier 2); Kills 27 (Barta 12); Blocks 12 (Coverdell 5); Digs 78 (Zier 18); Assists 26 (Johnson 25).
Match 8: Shelby def. Cut Bank (loser finishes in fourth) 25-20, 25-7, 25-18
Cut Bank leaders — Aces 3 (Greenwald 2, Altenburg 1); Kills 38 (Vaile 10, Altenburg 10); Blocks 9 (Vaile 4); Digs 77 (Greenwald 15, Paige Mazurkiewicz 14); Assists 36 (Spencer 35, Karcher 1).
Shelby leaders — Aces 5 ( Miller 2, Leary 2, Gardipee 1); Kills 19 (Nickol 5, Hooper 4); Blocks 6 (Leary 2, Nickol 2); Digs 58 (Christians 15, Gardipee 14, Smedsrud 9); Assists 19 (Miller 14, Conant 3, Gardipee 2).
Match 9: Fairfield def. Cut Bank (loser finishes in third)
Fairfield leaders — TBA.
Cut Bank leaders — TBA.
Match 10: Choteau def. Fairfield, 25-11, 25-19, 25-27, 25-19 (championship)
Choteau leaders — TBA.
Fairfield leaders — TBA.