By Kim Staudinger
Making their first trip to the state volleyball tournament since 1996, the Chinook Sugarbeeters face a tough challenge right from the start.
The Sugarbeeters opened the state tournament this morning at 10 facing the two-time defending state champion Roundup Panthers. While Roundup's record is not as glowing this year as in the last two seasons (the Panthers have seven losses on the season), Chinook coach Paula Molyneaux said her team has a tough task ahead.
"We are going to go in with the same attitude we've had all season," Molyneaux said. "We are going to play as well as we can and go from there."
Without a single member of her team having made the trip to a state volleyball tournament, Molyneaux said nerves may come in to play, but she hopes they won't.
"I hope its business as usual," she said. "I hope we play the same way we have all season."
Having not been in a state tournament for five seasons, Molyneaux said her team should not feel much outside pressure and, having exceeded the expectations of many, the Beeters just want to finish as high as they can.
"Mostly our goal is to go down and play our best and to go as far as we can go," Molyneaux said.
Joining Chinook on the top side of the bracket is Malta and Troy. On the other side of the bracket is Choteau, Townsend, Huntley Project and Frenchtown. Choteau comes in as the top seed from the North/East Class B Divisional Tournament, with Chinook in second and Malta in third. Roundup knocked off favorite Huntley Project at last week's Southern B tourney to earn the top seed. Troy is the other No. 1 seed in the tournament.
If Chinook wins in the opening round, the Beeters will play the Malta/Troy winner at 6 p.m. The winners from the other side of the bracket will square off at 8 p.m.