Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
The Chester/J-I volleyball team didn't lose very often leading up to the state tournament and appeared to be in prime position for a spot in the Class C state title game after winning two matches to open the tournament on Thursday in Bozeman. However, the Hawks missed out on two chances to get to the title game and finished third after back-to-back defeats at the hands of Circle and Highwood. On Friday evening, C/J-I got a crack at unbeaten Circle in a highly anticipated showdown between two of the state’s top teams. But with a berth in the championship game on the line, it was Circle that proved to be the better team, advancing with a three-game sweep of the Hawks by the scores of 25-23, 25-18 and 25-21. Despite leading for much of the first game, the Hawks failed to win the first game and they never recovered as Circle grabbed control of the match and didn’t look back. Star sophomore Jessica VanDyke had a stellar outing for the Hawks in defeat. She finished the match with a total of 16 kills and 13 digs. Molly Brown pitched in with 23 assists, Breana Wolery netted two blocks and Lyndsey Oraw added two blocks for the Hawks. Dina Fritz led Circle by amassing 25 kills and five blocks. Whitney Peterson and Mariah Haynie each contributed in a big way with 15 digs each in the win. The loss to Cirlce meant that the Hawks needed to beat Northern C rival Highwood to earn a rematch with Circle in the state title game. Meanwhile, Highwood needed to win three straight matches on Friday to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament. But the Mountaineers showed no signs of fatigue, as they swept their C/J-I by scores of 25-16, 25-18 and 25-19, eliminating the Hawks from state title contention and the tournament on Saturday morning. After dropping the first game 25-16, the Hawks suffered a major blow, as VanDyke went down with a knee injury in the second game and was unable to continue. Tabitha Brown filled in admirably for VanDyke and finished the match with a total of six kills and three aces in the loss. Molly Brown also put together a solid match for C/J-I, notching 19 assists and 11 digs. Wolery also contributed with three blocks. The Mountaineers were victorious thanks in large part to the spectacular performance of Rachel Semansky. Semansky was outstanding in the win and sparked her team to victory with a 18 kills, 17 digs and five blocks. Circle went on to defeat Highwood in three games to claim the Class C state title and finish the season a remarkable 36-0. The Wildcats, who finished second to Simms last season, swept the Mountaineers by the scores of 25-23, 25-22 and 25-17 to claim their first state championship. Circle's state championship meant that the Class C crown will not reside in the Northern C for the first time in four years.