The Choteau High School girls volleyball team will see its first competition this week with a junior varsity/C scramble on Thursday and the Choteau Invitational Preseason Tournament Friday and Saturday.
The 12-team junior varsity/C scramble will start at 3 p.m. on Thursday in the high school and elementary school gyms. Teams signed up to play are: Choteau JV, Choteau C, Conrad JV, Foothills Christian, Fairfield JV, Fairfield C, Shelby JV, Shelby C, Cut Bank JV, Cut Bank C, Florence-Carlton JV and Simms JV.
The teams will play matches of two sets to 25. Choteau’s junior varsity team will play Simms at 3 p.m., Cut Bank C at 4 p.m., Florence-Carlton at 5 p.m., Cut Bank JV at 6 p.m. and Shelby C at 7 p.m., all in the high school gym.
Choteau’s C team will play Cut Bank C at 3 p.m., Florence-Carlton JV at 4 p.m., Cut Bank JV at 5 p.m., Shelby JV at 6 p.m. and Shelby C at 7 p.m., all in the high school gym.
The 15-team varsity tournament will include Choteau and the other District 1B teams of Shelby, Cut Bank, Fairfield and Conrad; plus other Class B teams, Wolf Point, Broadwater County, Bigfork, Florence-Carlton, Three Forks and Thompson Falls; and Class C schools, Ennis, Manhattan Christian and Simms.
The teams will start out with pool play and will each play abbreviated two-game matches with each game played to 21 points. They will then be seeded into round robin matches, determined by total points earned, total points against, head to head play and, if necessary, a coin toss.
The top six teams of the weekend will have the opportunity for one final match on Saturday.
Admission will be charged. All-session passes for adults are $15 and for students are $12. Day passes are $10 for adults and $7 for students. Evening passes (after 3 p.m.) are $5 for adults and $4 for students. CHS activity tickets are valid for this tournament.
The first round starts at 9 a.m. on Friday, followed by the second round at 4:30 p.m.
Action starts with the second round continued at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and the third round at 10:45 a.m. The final matches will all start at 6:15 p.m., featuring the fifth- and sixth-seed teams, the third- and fourth-seed teams, and the first- and second-seed teams.
In first-round action, Choteau will play Glasgow at 9:45 a.m., Three Forks at noon, Florence-Carlton at 1:30 p.m. and Cut Bank at 3 p.m.
Last year, the Choteau Lady Bulldogs finished in third place in the preseason tournament, behind second-place finisher Fairfield and tournament champion Florence-Carlton.
Veteran CHS head coach Ann Funk and assistant coach Carla May are returning to work with the team. They spent the first week of practice, starting Aug. 16, focusing on the fundamentals plus defensive and offensive plays and positions.
Choteau’s turnout this year is 20 girls, down four from last year. The coaches will run a three-team schedule this season with some overlap among the three teams.
Girls out include one senior, Nicole Krone; juniors, Christine Funk, Ellie Lee, Abby McCollom, Soren Cummings and Anna Stutz; sophomores, Katie Major, Amy McKenzie, Ella Stott, Josie Johnson, Emma Gunderson, Bellamy Beadle, Sadie Grove and Taylor Asselstine; and freshmen, Ada Bieler, Ella Peach, Aly Wood, Maili Miller and Asia Bouma.
Lila Bradley, who underwent knee surgery this summer, and Audrey Hutton are managing for the team.
This weekend’s preseason tournament will give the Choteau girls a chance to play a lot of volleyball and to encounter different offenses and defenses. The tournament will also give the coaches the opportunity to see what is working and what still needs improvement as the season goes forward.
Coach Funk said the girls have been working hard on conditioning and learning their new positions.
Choteau will run a three-team schedule whenever opponents are available. The C squad games will usually start at 4:15 p.m. with junior varsity and varsity starting 20 minutes after the preceding match ends, approximately at 5:45 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
The girls will open their regular season on Sept. 5 against Fairfield on the road. The District 1B is expanding to seven teams this year as Great Falls Central Catholic moves from Class C to Class B ranks. GFCC joins Choteau, Fairfield, Conrad, Cut Bank, Shelby and Rocky Boy. The District 1B tournament, Nov. 1-2, will be at Choteau this year. The location of the Northern B Divisional tournament, Nov. 7-9, is yet to be determined. The all-class state tournament will be in Bozeman Nov. 14-16.
The Lady Bulldogs ended the 2018 volleyball season with a 23-2 record and a fourth-place finish at state, where they lost their only two matches of the season. Huntley Project is this year’s defending state champion for the 11th time.