Big Sandy pushes Chinook in Rudyard; North Star and Chester/J-I also moving on
George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever since the Chinook Sugarbeeters dropped to Class C volleyball last year, they have played some memorable matches with the Big Sandy Pioneers. And the 2006 District 6C-West volleyball tournament was yet another stage for what has blossomed into a great Class C volleyball rivalry. The Beeters and Pioneers needed two matches on Saturday night to decide a district champion, and it was Chinook that survived the battle as the Beeters captured their second consecutive district championship this weekend in Rudyard. Big Sandy, having already lost a match to North Star on Friday, reached the title tilt with Chinook by rebounding to defeat the host Knights on Saturday afternoon. And in order for the Pioneers to claim the district title, they would have to beat the vaunted Beeters twice. And after one classic championship match, it seemed like that is exactly what might happen. The Pioneers knocked off Chinook in the first match in a classic five-game thriller by scores of 25-17, 18-25, 12-25, 25-18 and 15-9. The Pioneers showed a lot of resolve, coming back from a 2-1 deficit in the first title match to force a do-or-die final match. Kourtney Danreuther came up big for the Pioneers with 10 kills and Jessica Amsbaugh added 15 digs. Shersteen Cline also had an astounding eight solo blocks. The Beeters got 13 kills, 14 digs and a service ace from Erin Eslick in the loss. With momentum on the side of the Pioneers, Chinook demonstrated why it has been the cream of the Class C crop for almost two full years now in the second championship match. The Beeters opened the match with a 25-21 win in game one and then narrowly dropped game two, 27-25. But 1-1 was as close as Big Sandy would get to the title as Chinook plowed through games three and games four, winning by scores of 25-20 and 25-19, bringing home another district championship in the process. Eslick was again instrumental in Chinook’s success. She racked up a match-high 17 kills and 20 digs in the final match of the night. Kayla Dugan also had a big match for Chinook. Dugan had 11 kills and four solo blocks. The second-place Pioneers got a monstrous effort from Shalayna Pearson in the loss. Pearson had 10 kills, 11 digs and five solo blocks. “Both us and Big Sandy struggled a little bit in those two matches,” Chinook head coach Doug Hayes said. “ It wasn’t the shiniest volleyball. “It really came down to who made the least mistakes,” he added. “Big Sandy made the fewest mistakes in the first match, and we were able to win the championship because we made the fewest in the second match.” The Beeters and Pioneers will both advance to this week’s Northern C Divisional tournament as will North Star. After a second straight win over Big Sandy on Friday night, the Knights appeared poised for a run at the district title on their home floor. But Chinook derailed that on Friday night in the semifinals, and the Knights had to rebound through the loser-out bracket where they were finally eliminated on Saturday afternoon by the Pioneers.
In the third-place match, Big Sandy defeated North Star by scores of 25-21, 25-23 and 25-18. The Knights did get a great all-around performance from Natasha Dyrland, who racked up 10 kills, 14 digs, four blocks and one ace. Jourdon Han also had five kills and three blocks in the loss. While Chinook, Big Sandy and North Star are headed to belt this week, so is Simms, Chester/J-I and Valier. The Tigers, who are playing in their first season in Class C volleyball rolled to the District 6C-East title on Saturday in Brady. Simms, which went undefeated in the regular season, defeated the Chester/J-I Hawks in four games in the 6C-East championship match on Saturday night. The Tigers downed the Hawks by scores of 21-25, 25-13, 25-12 and 25-9. While C/J-I played admirable early, the Hawks never threatened the Tigers after the first game of the match. C/J-I did get six kills and two aces from Jessica VanDyke in the loss. Hanna Pimley added five kills, 10 digs and a pair of blocks. The Hawks reached the title match having already played three full matches on Saturday. In the morning, C/J-I knocked out Power by scores of 25-7, 25- 16 and 25-9. Then the Hawks took out Sunburst in three games to reach the third-place match where they defeated Valier by scores of 26-24, 25-9 and 25-17. In the match against the Panthers, the Hawks got 10 kills and a block from VanDyke as well as four aces and eight digs from Tabitha Brown. C/J-I was forced to come through the loser-out bracket because of a five-game loss to Valier on Friday night. All three teams form the 6C-East and 6C-West will begin play at the 2006 Northern C Divisional tournament in Belt on Thursday afternoon.