George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
At the beginning of the 2007 high school volleyball season, two things were clear when it came to the Northern C Division the Highwood Mountaineers were thought of as the team to beat in November, and the division was as deep as ever before. And things almost held true to form this weekend at the Northern C Divisional tournament in Valier, except it was the Chester/J-I Hawks who proved that the regular season was no fluke, and it was them, and not the Mountaineers who were the team to beat in the Northern C. Chester/J-I didn’t lose a single match in the tournament, defeating Highwood in four games on Saturday night to capture the Northern C title. Although the tournament wasn’t as easy it appeared for the Hawks, they did seem to cruise to the championship Saturday night. The Hawks jumped out to a c ommand ing 2 - 0 l e a d in the champi onship match, beat ing Highwood 25-18 and 25-20. Highwood responded with a game three win by the score of 25-16, but C/J-I wrapped up the divisional title with a 25-20 win in game four. Sophomore Jessica VanDyke, who was dominant throughout the tournament, racked up 14 kills and 18 digs in the championship match, while Molly Brown added 28 assists and five service aces. Despite not being pushed by Highwood in the championship tilt, Friday night saw the Hawks get tested to their limits in the first semifinal by arch rival Sunburst. The Hawks and Refiners went to five games with C/J-I coming out on top by scores of 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 16-25 and 15-10. The thrilling match saw VanDyke lead the way with 14 kills and four aces. Tabitha Brown was stellar defensively for Chester/J-I with 27 of C/J-I’s 89 digs. The Hawks also beat District 6C East rival Big Sandy on Friday to reach the semifinals. The Hawks beat the Pioneers by scores of 25-12, 25-18 and 25-21. VanDyke had 12 kills in the match, while Shersteen Cline had a big match for Big Sandy, totaling 12 kills, four aces, and two blocks. Me a nw h i l e , t h e C h i n o o k Sugarbeeters and Simms Tigers, the last two Class C state champions, didn’t quite get the chance to make more state tournament magic, although Chinook came the closest. The Beeters finished third in the tournament, getting knocked out late by Simms. However, the Tigers went on to finish fourth. Chinook lost on the opening day of the tournament, but stayed alive on Friday with a fivegame win over Geraldine. The Beeters beat Geraldine by scores of 26-24, 17-25, 22-25, 25-7 and 15-10. Jessica McMaster paced the Beeters in the win with nine kills, while Patti Hellman had six of Chinook’s match-high 18 aces. North Star and Big Sandy were eliminated from the tournament on Friday. The Knights were beaten in loser-out action by Highwood on Friday afternoon by scores of 25-16, 25-15 and 25-17. Now, C/J-I and Highwood will prepare to begin play in the Class C state tournament which gets under way on Thursday in Bozeman. Both teams could be considered favorites to win the Class C title, and they will both be trying to keep the championship in the Northern C for the third straight year. The Hawks begin their state title quest at 4 p.m. on Thursday against Western C runner-up Hot Springs. Highwood squares off against Eastern C champion Circle at 10 a.m.