When volleyballs go up in the air on Thursday morning, it will be do-or-die time. This week marks the beginning of the high school volleyball postseason, and for many area teams, it’s the march towards big things.
Thursday and Friday, Chester will be the sight of the 2011 District 6C East volleyball tournament. The Hawks are hosting the event for the first time after moving from the 6C West to the 6C East this season. And C/J-I also happens to be the No. 1 seed in this week’s tournament.
C/J-I rolled through the regular season, finishing in first place in the final conference standings. The Hawks have a first-round bye in the tournament. The North Star Knights also have a first-round bye after finishing second in the final conference standings. North Star has been a perennial Northern C power the last few years, and the Knights certainly have the firepower to earn a spot in the divisional tournament.
The Chinook Sugarbeeters are the defending 6C East champions and they finished third in the regular season. Chinook will open the district tournament against the Box Elder Bears. The Bears played a junior varsity only schedule this season, but will compete in the 6C tourney.
On the other side of the bracket is fourth-seeded Big Sandy. The Pioneers have had an up-and-down season, but they’ve proved they are capable of beating anyone in the conference on a given night. The Pioneers will face winless Hays-Lodge Pole in the opening round.
The winner of the Big Sandy/HLP match, which starts at 9 a.m. Thursday morning will face Chester/J-I in the second round on Thursday afternoon. Chinook and Box Elder will play 30 minutes after the first match ends with the winner of that match going on to face North Star on Thursday evening. There is also one loser-out match scheduled for Thursday night, as well as one for Friday morning at 9 a.m.
Chester/J-I is certainly the favorite this weekend, especially with the Hawks playing on their home floor. But North Star and Chinook have challenged the Hawks every step of the way throughout the season, so neither of those teams can be counted out. Big Sandy is perhaps the wildcard in the tournament. The Pioneers are talented and athletic, and despite finishing fourth in the regular season, they make things very interesting this weekend
The 6C East tournament will conclude with the third-place match and the championship tilt scheduled for Friday evening. All matches in Chester will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the previous match. The top three teams from tournament advance to next week’s Northern C Divisional Tournament in Rudyard.