Havre Daily News Sports Editor
It is time for high school volleyball to take center stage, as the postseason has arrived. Today, the ultra-competitive District 6C volleyball tournament will get under way in Chester, and the tournament will feature three days of quality volleyball.
At stake this weekend will be coveted berths in the Northern C divisional tournament Nov. 4-5 in Chinook. The likely favorites to reach the divisional tournament next weekend include the District 6C regular-season champion Chinook Sugarbeeters, as well as tournament host Chester/JI.
The Beeters and Hawks won't have an easy road to the tournament's championship match, however. Chinook finished first in the league standings with a 15-1 record. The Hawks finished right behind the Beeters at 14-2. The two teams were dominant throughout the regular season, and both are loaded with talented players.
The Beeters have a host of talented players who can hurt teams from all over the floor. Offensively, Chinook gets good production from Georgia Barber, Dawn Kellam and Gen Burkhartsmeyer. Crystal Roseberry directs the team's offense, and Erin Eslick is an outstanding defensive player who can also score.
The Hawks also have a deep and talented roster that should push them through to the divisional tournament. The Hawks have an outstanding trio of experienced players in Hannah Pimley, Brianne Wolfe and Keyla Briese.
While Chinook and Chester/J-I may have the two deepest teams in the field this week, that doesn't mean others won't step up and challenge for a spot in the divisional tournament.
The biggest threat comes from the talented Big Sandy Pioneers (13-3). The Pioneers finished the regular season on a high note, and their good play should continue this weekend. Like the Beeters and Hawks, Big Sandy has some outstanding offensive talent led Shalayna Pearson, Shersteen Cline and Naomi Williams. Kacy Herron is the team's leader in assists and is steady passing the ball.
To some, it may appear that the district tournament is very top-heavy with Chinook, Chester/J-I and Big Sandy having so few losses. But teams that come from the middle of the pack can make things very tough on the favorites throughout the tournament.
Valier, Sunburst and North Star all have quality wins against top opponents this season, and all three teams are very evenly matched.
The North Star Knights have had their ups and downs this season, but they possess one of the top hitters and blockers in the league in Tasha Dyrland. Tara Donoven is also a steady player for the Knights.
Rocky Boy, Box Elder and Hays-Lodge Pole finished at the bottom of the pack in the regular season with a combined six wins all season. Still, the District 6C is one of the most competitive leagues in Class C volleyball and that will make this weekend's district tournament in Chester very entertaining.
The tournament was to get under way this morning with Hays-Lodge Pole taking on Box Elder, followed by Valier versus Sunburst 30 minutes after the conclusion of the opening match. Rocky Boy will take on host Chester/J-I at 1 p.m., followed by North Star High School versus Big Sandy. The final match of the opening round will take place at 4 p.m., and it pits Chinook against the Box Elder/Hays-Lodge Pole winner.
The 2005 District 6C volleyball tournament will continue through Saturday evening. All the action will take place at the Chester/J-I High School gymnasium.