By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsfirstname.lastname@example.org
For two straight weeks now, the Glasgow Scotties have been a major roadblock for the Chinook Sugarbeeters volleyball team. The Beeters had to get past an early loss to Glasgow to win last week's District 2B title. It was no different at the North-East B divisional tournament this past weekend in Malta.
Despite the divisional tournament featuring District 1B powers Choteau and Simms, it was the Scotties, who gave the Beeters all they could handle en route to Chinook claiming the 2003 North-East B championship.
The Beeters had to rally from a Saturday morning semifinal loss to Glasgow to defeat the Scotties twice on Saturday night to capture the divisional title.
"I said coming into this weekend that Glasgow was the hottest team in this tournament," said Chinook head coach Jay Eslick. "And they played really well this weekend. But our kids responded to being down and they fought hard and we were able to come out on top."
"I am really happy for all of our kids that they were able to win this tournament after not being able to get it done a year ago," Eslick added.
After opening with a first-round win on Thursday, the Beeters got off to a slow start in their quarterfinal match with the host Malta M-Ettes by dropping the first game 23-25. However, Chinook then got going and cruised to wins in the next three games by scores of 25-20, 25-12 and 26-24. Whitney Lybeck paced the Beeters with 11 kills and five blocks and Andrea Eslick added three aces.
Chinook then prepared to face the Scotties on Friday night in the semifinals, but a power outage forced the cancellation of those matches with the semifinals resumed Saturday morning.
The Beeters fell in the opening game of the match 11-25, but rebounded to take game two and three by scores of 25-13 and 28-25. Glasgow would not go away however, and regrouped to capture the next two games by scores of 25-21 and 15-10.
Lybeck again led the way for the Beeters with 11 kills, 18 digs and six blocks. The win over Chinook was the second this season for the Scotties and it forced Chinook to battle back through the losers bracket to reach the state tournament.
"We were prepared to face Glasgow on Friday night and we get there and the match was canceled," Eslick said. "We were still confident, but we made some crucial errors in that match Saturday morning and Glasgow took advantage of our mistakes."
With their season on the line, the Beeters were able to rebound against defending North-East B champion Choteau on Saturday afternoon. The Beeters knocked off the Bulldogs by scores of 25-18, 27-29, 25-6 and 25-12. Kayla Erskine led the way for Chinook with a match-high 11 kills as well as three blocks.
The win over Choteau meant that Chinook had obtained a state tournament berth, but if the Beeters were to capture the divisional crown, they would have to defeat Glasgow twice in the championship match.
And that is precisely what Eslick's team did. After dropping the opening game of the first match 22-25, the Beeters captured three straight games by scores of 25-15, 25-14 and 25-20. Erskine led Chinook in the first title match with 13 kills.
On a roll, the Beeters continued to dominate Glasgow in the decisive match. Chinook rolled over the Scotties in three straight games by scores of 25-19, 26-24 and 25-19. Lybeck was again spectacular as she tallied 10 kills, 11 digs and three blocks.
The two straight wins over the Scotties and the play of his team made Eslick a very proud coach on Saturday night.
"Once we took care of Choteau, we started gaining our confidence back a little," Eslick said. "In the first match against Glasgow, we started off a little slow, but once we got going we met every challenge Glasgow put in front of us. The kids just played great volleyball from that point on.
"This was a great weekend for our team," Eslick added. "We had a bitter taste in our mouth from last season's divisional tournament and the girls were not going to be denied the chance to got to state again. I am really proud of the way they fought back."
Chinook will now prepare to travel to Billings for the 2003 Class B state volleyball tournament. The Beeters will open up state tournament play at the Al Bedoo Shrine Auditorium in Billings on Thursday at 2 p.m. when they take on Manhattan Christian.
Chinook def. Malta
23-25, 25-20, 25-12, 26-24
Chinook - Kills 42 (Whitney Lybeck 11) Assists 28 (Tiffany Cuerth 13) Aces 7 (Andrea Eslick 3) Digs 79 (Monica Thackeray 24) Blocks 13 (Lybeck 5)
Malta - Kills 47 (Jolene Fuzesy 15) Assists 36 (Ashley Henry 34) Aces 6 (Randi Johnson 2) Digs 84 (Henry 17) Blocks 10 (Fuzesy 5)
Chinook def. Glasgow
22-25, 25-15, 25-14, 25-20
Chinook - Kills 41 (Kayla Erskine 13) Assists 31 (Tiffany Cuerth 22) Aces 10 (Janice Wass 3) Blocks 5 (Erskine, Georgia Barber 2) Digs 69 (Monica Thackeray 17)
Glasgow - Kills 37 (Lacey Garten 13) Assists 31 (Chelsie Patterson 30) Aces 5 (Kelly Hagfeldt 2) Blocks 15 (Denise Enelso 5) Digs 57 (Pattison 11)
Chinook def. Glasgow
25-19, 26-24, 25-19
Chinook - Kills 34 (Whitney Lybeck 10) Assists 26 (Tiffany Cuerth 16) Aces 10 (Cuerth 3) Blocks 4 (Lybeck 3) Digs 54 (Lybeck 11)
Glasgow - Kills 23 (Lacey Garten 8) Assists 16 (Chelsie Pattison 16) Aces 6 (Pattison 4) Blocks 12 (Denise Enebo 5) Digs 49 (Kelly Hagfeldt 10)
Chinook def. Choteau
25-18, 27-29, 25-6, 25-12
(semifinal/loser-out, Choteau finishes third)
Chinook - Kills 35 (Kayla Erskine 11) Blocks 7 (Erskine 3) Aces 14 (Tiffany Cuerth 8) Digs 60 (Whitney Lybeck 14) Assists 24 (Cuerth 16)
Choteau - Kills 24 (Cali Buck 10) Blocks 6 (Kendra Halverson 2) Aces 1 (Kyli Ameline) Digs 26 (Halverson 10) Assists 17 (Jesi Sessions 12)
Choteau def. Shelby
18-25, 25-22, 25-11, 26-24
(loser-out, Shelby finishes fourth)
Choteau - Kills 42 (Cali Buck 15) Blocks 12 (Buck 6) Aces 10 (Kyli Ameline 4) Digs 81 (Jesi Sessions 14) Assists 31 (Sessions 29)
Shelby - Kills 29 (M Christiaens 11) Blocks 12 (M Buyske 4) Aces 18 (Christiaens 6) Digs 78 (L Alvestad 17) Assists 26 (J Westermark 16)
Glasgow def. Chinook
25-11, 13-25, 28-25, 25-21, 15-10
Chinook - Kills 46 (Whitney Lybeck 11) Blocks 11 (Lybeck 6) Aces 7 (Crystal Roseberry 3) Digs 69 (Lybeck 18) Assists 32 (Tiffany Cuerth 16)
Glasgow - Kills 41 (Lacey Garten 16) Blocks 20 (Tiffany Waters 11) Aces 7 (Garten 7) Digs 54 (Tarin Ball 14) Assists 39 (Chelsea Pattison 37)