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Area spikers lay it on the line in Chester


The North Star Knights are the District 6C East champions, but they'll be just one of nine teams looking for glory today in Chester.

This morning, the Northern C Divisional volleyball tournament gets underway in Chester, and three area teams will put up a fight to get to next week's Class C state tournament.

Tournament play begins this morning with District 7C runner up Fort Benton taking on Valier followed by 6C West champion Sunburst battling Big Sandy. At 1, the Knights face 7C's Geraldine, and the first round wraps up with Chinook facing Simms at 3 in the most interesting match of the day.

Chinook and Simms were probably the favorites heading into this weekend, but both teams were upset in their respective district tournament championship matches last weekend, so now the Sugarbeeters and Tigers will have to play in the first round.

While the 6C West was supposed to be the strongest district in the Northern C this season, it was the 7c which stole the show. Top-seeded Belt has a bye this morning and will face the Fort Benton-Valier winner tonight at 5. There will be a winners bracket match tonight at 9 and a loser's bracket match at 7.

Despite winning the district tournament on their home floor last weekend, the Knights have a tough road to the state tournament. If North Star beats Geraldine, which was a 7C force this season, the Knights will face either Sunburst or Big Sandy in the quarterfinals, teams North Star has both beaten and lost to this season.

Things will be even more difficult for the Pioneers, but Big Sandy has the talent to advance, especially with a star at the net in Hannah Williams. However, Big Sandy is also probably the youngest team in the field.

Chinook, Simms, Belt and Fort Benton are all powerhouse teams in the tournament, but the Beeters and Tigers made things tough on themselves last weekend, and the loser of today's match will have a hard time getting to the state tournament. Chinook and Simms split their two regular season meetings.

The Northern C Divisional runs through Saturday night in Chester and the top two teams will advance to next week's Class C state tourney in Bozeman.


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