The Choteau High School varsity volleyball team finished in third place in the CHS pre-season tournament Aug. 24 and 25 and the girls are now practicing for their first conference match of the season against Fairfield on Aug. 30.

With 24 girls out, coaches Ann Funk and Carla May will field varsity, junior varsity and C squad teams. The matches in Fairfield will start with a C squad match at 4:15 p.m., and the JV and varsity matches will follow 20 minutes after the preceding match finishes up, approximately at 5:45 and 7 p.m., respectively.

Girls out for the CHS volleyball program this year include seniors, Anna Jamison, Delaynie Beadle, Katie Bieler and Michaela Gunderson; juniors, Jessie Henderson, Nicole Krone, Lila Bradley and Samara DeBruycker; sophomores, Jessica Gertge, Audrey Hutton, Abby McCollom, Blake Zwerneman, Christine Funk, Ellie Lee, Soren Cummings and Anna Stutz; and freshmen, Sadie Grove, Amy McKenzie, Emma Gunderson, Ella Stott, Taylor Asselstine, Katie Major, Josie Johnson and Bellamy Beadle.

Kelci Kovatch and Thalia Scharf are the team’s student managers.

The varsity squad includes returning setter Bieler, returning hitters Jamison, Delaynie Beadle, Gunderson and Krone and returning libero Funk. Also seeing varsity action will be Jessie Henderson, Ellie Lee and Blake Zwerneman among others.

“I told the kids that I like the versatility of the team,” head coach Ann Funk said on Monday.

Choteau’s varsity team doesn’t have a lot of height, but has a good core of experienced players returning with some younger girls who are able to step up and help out. Funk as always is emphasizing ball control and defense as the keys to a winning season.

Without a lot of height, Choteau’s girls on offense are going to have to come up with a wicked serve that will force other teams to struggle on serve-receive.

Practice started on Aug. 10 and so far is going well, Funk said. After a week of two-a-day full group practices, from now on the teams will break up in to varsity and JV practices, allowing the coaches to focus on more individualized and strategic instruction for each player.

In the two-day Choteau pre-season tournament, 15 teams competed in three pools for the tournament title. After the third round of play, the top six teams were each bracketed to play in the championship round.

Florence-Carlton (No. 1) defeated Fairfield (No. 2), 25-19, 25-11, to finish in first.

Shelby (No. 3) lost to Choteau (No. 4), 15-25, 18-25 so Choteau ended the tournament in third place, and Shelby in fourth.

No. 5 Ennis defeated No. 6 Manhattan Christian, 25-22, 17-25, 7-1, to round out the top six.

Choteau’s girls won eight out of 12 matches and played 10 out of 15 teams. They lost twice to Florence-Carlton, once to Shelby and once to Ennis. Overall, they won 17 sets and lost seven, scoring a total of 472 points and limiting the points scored against them to 369.

“It was a good weekend,” Coach Funk said, adding that the girls got a lot of experience and the coaches got a good look at what is working well and what needs more practice.

Funk said Florence-Carlton and Ennis were the teams to beat in the tournament. Choteau played Florence-Carlton three times, winning once and losing twice.

Final ranking in the pre-season tournament after pool play was: 1. Florence-Carlton, 11 wins; 2. Fairfield, 9 wins; 3. Shelby, 9 wins; 4. Choteau, 8 wins; 5. Ennis, 8 wins; 6. Manhattan Christian, 8 wins; 7. Simms, 7 wins; 8. Glasgow, 6 wins; 9. Thompson Falls, 5 wins; 10. Broadwater, 5 wins; 11. Three Forks, 4 wins; 12. Bigfork, 3 wins; 13. Wolf Point, 3 wins; 14. Cut Bank, 2 wins; 15. Conrad, 0 wins.