The Choteau High School varsity volleyball team took second place in the CHS Preseason Tournament on Saturday, losing a close three-set championship match to the Broadwater County High School Bulldogs of Townsend.
This week, Choteau will play Fairfield on the road on Sept. 2 with C, junior varsity and varsity matches set at 4:15, p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. The times outside of the 4:15 C squad time are only approximate because the JV and varsity matches will start 20 minutes after the previous match ends.
The Choteau girls will also play at home Sept. 4 against Rocky Boy with matches starting at 2 p.m.
Head coach Ann Funk on Monday said she expects Fairfield’s new head coach Mary Mathison, formerly their assistant coach, to field a competitive team. The two teams did not meet in the preseason tournament. Funk said Fairfield and Choteau are both in the same situation where they are going to be working hard to establish communication and get more experience.
Against both Fairfield and Rocky Boy, Funk said her girls have to serve well and to play strong defense.
The Choteau girls played 12 abbreviated matches in the three rounds of round robin play in the tournament. They won 20 sets and lost four, and only lost one match — the championship match.
At the end of the third round, Choteau was ranked first, Broadwater second, Manhattan Christian third, Florence-Carlton fourth, the Glasgow Scotties fifth and the Shelby Coyotes sixth. The top six teams were seeded into matches to place for first through sixth.
Choteau opened the championship match with a 25-13 win in the first set. In the second set, the Lady Bulldogs lost in extra points, 24-26. That put them into a tie-breaking third set played to just seven points. The Choteau girls lost that set, 5-7.
In other final results from the tournament, Florence-Carlton defeated Manhattan Christian, a Class C school, 15-25, 25-20, 7-3, to finish in third, and the Scotties defeated Shelby, 25-13, 20-25, 7-3, to finish in fifth place.
Other teams in the tournament were Ennis, Wolf Point, Bigfork, Cut Bank, Three Forks, Fairfield, Conrad, Simms and Thompson Falls.
Coach Funk said she thought the varsity girls communicated well on the court. “They had great energy,” she said. The girls also played tough defense and did a good job with their serving. For being early in the season, she said, the girls did a good job of staying in position.
“Offensively, I liked how aggressive they were,” she said, saying there were a lot of really good things that she saw.
Going forward, she said, the team needs to work on blocking, learning how to slow down attacks and knowing where the deflections are going to go. “We just need to work at it,” she said.
The girls also need to work on offensive communication between the setters and the hitters. That will come with more repetitions and more practice, and will continue to improve throughout the season, Funk said.
Choteau also had two teams, a C squad and a JV squad, in the 12-team, one-day sub-varsity scramble on Aug. 26. The teams played two sets to 25 or for 40 minutes, whichever parameter was reached first. Choteau’s junior varsity squad included Ella Peach, Lily Heiberg, Tessa Brownell, Violet Bechtold, Ceanna Leys, Ainsley DeBruycker and Maili Miller.
The C squad included Aly Wood, Kylie Kovatch, Abby Zickefoose, Olivia Lightner, Olivia Jamison and Arionna Gomes.
The scramble was structured so that each team got five matches.