By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
The Chinook Sugarbeeters are looking for a repeat performance from 2002 as the District 2B volleyball tournament gets under way today in Glasgow.
The Beeters enter district tournament play as the defending champion, carrying with them a sparkling 11-1 conference record. Chinook lost just once in conference play this season on its home floor to the Glasgow Scotties. The only other matches the Beeters dropped this season came in their annual home-and-home series with the Havre Blue Ponies.
Because of the Beeters first place finish in the regular season, they will have a first-round bye when play begins and will await the winner of the Plentywood/Wolf Point match.
Despite their tremendous season in district play, Chinook head coach Jay Eslick knows that this weekend will be a dogfight to see who comes out on top in the district.
"This has been a very competitive year in our district," Eslick said. "We lost to Glasgow at home and Malta took us to five games twice this season so I think this tournament is going to be very tough for all the teams involved."
While Glasgow finished third in conference play and Malta finished second, Eslick also points to the Wolf Point Wolves as a team that could be a potential stumbling block on the way to a district championship.
"Wolf Point is a much better team than they were early in the season," Eslick said. "They got a key player back from injury and she changes the whole complexion of their team. They are playing very good volleyball right now."
As for his Beeters, Eslick said that the mental side of the game is where his team has been struggling. If the Beeters can find a way to focus and do the things that they have done all season, Eslick will feel pretty comfortable being in the role of the favorite.
"We have been struggling with focus and intensity lately," Eslick said. "If we can come out and play with a higher level of intensity and we utilize our strengths like passing and setting up our hitters, then I feel very confident about our chances this weekend."
Eslick will rely heavily on the play of his five seniors: Tiffany Cuerth, Shaylan Haugen, Kayla Erskine, Kelsey Crampton and Janice Wass. Junior Whitney Lybeck is a strong presence at the net while sophomores Georgia Barber and Crystal Roseberry have
The Harlem Wildcats enter the tournament a little under the radar with a 2-10 conference record, however the Wildcats have plenty of talent and could knock off an unsuspecting team along the way.
The first match of the tournament will get underway today at 10 a.m. when Plentywood and Wolf Point meet. That match will be followed by Malta and Harlem. The night session will begin with the final first-round match between Glasgow and Poplar. The final match of the night will feature the Beeters and the winner of the match between the Wolves and Wildcats.