By Kim Staudinger
Same goal, different sport.
For the Chester Coyotes, six seniors are looking to do in volleyball exactly what they did on the basketball court win the state championship.
The road to the title begins today against Manhattan Christian. Chester plays the last game of the opening round at 4 p.m.. If the Coyotes win, they could possibly face one of the other tournament favorites in Harlowton later at 8 p.m. Harlowton won the state title last year.
Chester has seen Manhattan Christian play at the state tournament the last three seasons, but have never had the chance to play them.
"They're going to be tough," senior Jamie Graham said. "We can't dink around like we have been. We have to get the job done."
Chester senior Katy Engstrom said with the true double elimination bracket set up in volleyball, she expects Chester to face Harlowton in the championship game.
"It's going to be tight the whole way through," Engstrom said. "If they (Harlowton) come back through or if we come back through, it's going to be tough."
Graham added that she likes the way the brackets work for volleyball, saying: "It's a nice thing. It's never over until you lose two games."
The last time Chester won a state volleyball title was in 1992, Engstrom said. With that in mind and with the memories of winning the basketball title still fresh, the Coyotes are determined to win this weekend.
"Our season for basketball was perfect," Engstrom said. "We want to go out and win it for ourselves and for our coach, he's the one who has gotten up to where we are now."
Said Graham: "Our town is just pumped about it, it's unreal. We just want that feeling again."
Also making the trip to the state tournament with Chester is Sunburst, Jordan, Richey, Twin Bridges and Bridger. Harlowton will face Jordan in the first round at 2 p.m. with Chester to follow against Manhattan Christian at 4. Richey and Sunburst face off at 10 a.m. with Twin Bridges and Bridger meeting up at noon. The winners of those matches will play again tonight at 6 with the other winners meeting at 8.
If Chester and Harlowton meet at 8, the match will be a rematch of the state championship basketball game in which Chester defeated Harlowton 83-75 in double overtime. Engstrom said she really does not know what to expect in the first round, but knows they have to take each game one at a time. As for Harlowton, Engstrom said they know a little more of what to expect.
"Harlo has exceptionally hard hitters," Engstrom said. "On the floor it's all about the game and off the floor we can be friends." With the friendship that has developed between the two teams, Engstrom said the match will be fun, yet intense and promises some friendly trash talking between the two.
Even with the friendships between the two teams, the Coyotes have one thing left to accomplish and to cap off another perfect season.
"We're excited and we hope to bring home another first place trophy," Engstrom said.