Choteau v. Fairfield

Choteau's Michaela Gunderson puts up a kill against Fairfield's Alexis McWilliams and Chesney Rogers as Choteau's Nicole Krone, Katie Bieler and Christine Funk watch.

The Choteau High School Lady Bulldogs beat Fairfield Friday afternoon, 3-0, in a hard-fought match that featured wild saves, tremendous kills, crashing aces and great hustle on both sides of the volleyball court. Choteau advances to play again at 8 p.m. against the winner of the Roundup-Wolf Point match.

Choteau won, 25-20, 25-20, 25-16, over the Lady Eagles, beating their familiar cross-county rival for the sixth time this season. Coach Courtney Bake’s team ended its run at state with one win over Powell County and losses to Huntley Project and Choteau. This marked the end of the season and their high school careers for Fairfield seniors Emily Clotfelter, Chesney Rogers and Alexis McWilliams.

In other action on Friday, Wolf Point eliminated Powell County. Huntley Project and Florence-Carlton will play in the semifinal match at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to the championship match at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

In the first set of the Choteau-Fairfield match, the teams were tied twice early at 1-1 and 3-3, but then Choteau’s offense began pulling away, scoring on a Fairfield hitting error to take the lead, 4-3, and never let Fairfield lead again. Sophomore libero Christine Funk led the team back into the lead as she served four points, scoring on three of her own aces, to put Choteau up, 8-4, and the rest of the set was all Choteau, coming up with the win, 25-20. 

Choteau, which has struggled with serving this tournament, got steady serving from Funk, Michaela Gunderson, Emma Gunderson, Jessie Henderson and Nicole Krone.

Choteau’s hitters Krone, Ellie Lee, Anna Jamison, Michaela Gunderson and Delaynie Beadle were effective in getting their kills down, going through Fairfield’s blockers, around them or hitting down the line.

In the second set, again both teams played very evenly, tying the score at 5-5, 6-6 and12-12. At that point, Choteau pulled away with Henderson serving and went on a six-point run, to take the lead 18-12. After that, the Choteau girls controlled the set, powering on for the win. Lee brought the Choteau girls to 23-19 on a big kill and with Michaela Gunderson serving, the Choteau girls scored their final two points on Fairfield hitting errors to win, 25-20.

The third and final set featured more of the same: Choteau’s girls and Fairfield’s girls hustled hard to pick up everything that came across the net, chasing down balls off the court and making some crazy saves at the net. The girls played point-for-point early in the set and then Choteau began to pull away on two different point runs. With Emma Gunderson serving, Choteau scored twice to go up 12-9 and one rotation later, with Henderson serving, the girls put five more points up, scoring on one unreturned serve, a big kill by Krone and three Fairfield errors to lead, 18-9. Fairfield went on a point run late in this set, but derailed its own momentum with a service error to give Choteau the serve and the lead, 24-16. With Abby McCollom serving, Choteau won the set and the match on a Jamison kill.

STATISTICS

Choteau def. Fairfield, 25-20, 25-20, 25-16

Choteau — Aces 11 (Christine Funk 6, Michaela Gunderson 3); kills 30 (Nicole Krone 11, Ellie 7); assists 26 (Katie Bieler 19); blocks 13 (Lee 5, Krone 4); digs 58 (Funk 13, Krone 10).

Fairfield — Aces 5 (Kyler Bake 3); kills 13 (Kenna Pitcher 4); assists 13 (Alexis McWilliams 9); blocks 38 (Chesney Rogers 11, Bake 9); digs 76 (Emily Clotfelter 16, Pitcher 16).