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Area spikers vying for state tourney berths

Harlem, and a quartet of area Class C volleyball teams playing at divisionals this weekend

 

November 7, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

It's been a historic season for Sarah Billmayer and the Harlem volleyball team. The Wildcats hope to keep that season going at this weekend's Northern B Divisional in Wolf Point.

The Harlem Wildcats haven't been to the Northern B Divisional volleyball tournament often, but they have been there - just not in the position they're in this week.

After a strong regular season, and a second-place finish at last weekend's District 2B tournament, the Wildcats enter today's Northern B with not only high hopes but also a strong chance to be one of three teams to advance to the state tournament next week in Bozeman.

"Right now, our ladies are playing great and they are believing in themselves," Harlem head coach Kim Faulkinberry said. "We are right where we want to be. We will roll the dice and see what happens, with our girls believing anything can happen."

What Harlem wants to happen is to earn a trip to the state tournament. For that to happen, the Wildcats will at least have to finish third at this weekend's Northern B in Wolf Point. The quest begins today when Harlem faces Fairfield, the No. 3 from the 1B. The winner of that match will play either 1B winner Choteau or Malta in the quarterfinals. The other side of the bracket pits 2B champion Glasgow against Northern B newcomer Great Falls Central, while 1B runner-up Shelby takes on Wolf Point in the last first-round match. The two quarterfinal matches will also take place Thursday, while the action continues through Saturday's championship match.

Of course, Harlem isn't the only area team geared up for a run at the state tournament. Four Hi-Line squads are also playing in this week's Northern C Divisional in Cascade.

And with half the field in Cascade made up of area teams, there's no reason to think the Class C state tournament won't have a Hi-Line feel to it next week in Bozeman.

Chinook comes into the Northern C as the 6C East champion, and with just two losses on its resume all season. The Sugarbeeters are certainly a team to be reckoned with this weekend, and they open the tourney today against Geraldine-Highwood. Chinook's side of the bracket will also include a familiar foe in the form of the Fort Benton Longhorns. Fort Benton finished second in the 7C last weekend and will play Augusta, the runner-up in the 6C West in the opening round. If Fort Benton and Chinook square off in the quarterfinals, it will be the third meeting of the season, as the two rivals split in the regular season.

On the other side of the bracket is 6C East runner-up North Star. The Knights would be unbeaten this season if it wasn't for four losses to Chinook, so it's obvious North Star is a powerhouse and has what it takes to get through the divisional tourney. But North Star's first-round match is a tough one, as the Knights play 6C West champion Simms. The winner of that match will either meet 7C champion Belt, Power or Big Sandy in the quarterfinals.

The Huskies are the favorite this week and will play either Big Sandy or Power.

Of course, Big Sandy is the surprise team in the field this week. The Pioneers won just two matches during the regular season but made an exciting run to the third-place match at last week's 6C East tourney in Chinook, and they hope to keep the magic carpet ride going in Cascade.

The goal, of course, is to get to the championship match which is slated for Saturday afternoon, and be one of two teams to punch a ticket to the state tournament next week in Bozeman.

The top two teams from the Northern C will advance to next week's All-Class State Volleyball Tournament in Bozeman, which runs Nov. 14-16.

Northern C at Cascade

Thursday

Match 1: Power vs. Big Sandy, 9 a.m.

Match 2: Fort Benton vs. Augusta, 30 minutes after first match

Match 3: Chinook vs. Highwood-Geraldine, noon

Match 4: Simms vs. North Star

Match 5: Belt vs. Match 1 winner, 4 p.m.

Match 6: Match 1 loser vs. Match 4 loser

Friday

Match 7: Match 2 winner vs. Match 3 winner, 10 a.m.

Match 8: Match 4 winner vs. Match 5 winner

Match 9: Match 6 winner vs. Match 3 loser, 3 p.m.

Match 10: Match 5 loser vs. Match 2 loser

Match 11: Match 7 winner vs. Match 8 winner

Saturday

Match 12: Match 9 winner vs. Match 7 loser, 9 a.m.

Match 13: Match 10 winner vs. Match 8 loser

Match 14: Match 12 winner vs. Match 13 winner

Match 15: Match 14 winner vs. Match 11 loser, 3rd place

Match 16: Match 11 winner vs. Match 15 winner, championship

Match 17: if necessary, championship

Northern B at Wolf Point

Thursday

Match 1: Choteau vs. Malta, 10 a.m.

Match 2: Fairfield vs. Harlem, 11:45 a.m.

Match 3: Glasgow vs. Great Falls Central, 1:30 p.m.

Match 4: Wolf Point vs. Shelby, 3:15 p.m.

Match 5: Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner, 5 p.m.

Match 6: Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner, 6:45 p.m.

Friday

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Ginger Hauer and the Chinook Sugarbeeters, along with North Star, Big Sandy and Fort Benton, are playing at this weekend's Northern C Divisional Tournament in Cascade. The top two teams from the Northern C advance to the Class C state tournament in Bozeman.

Match 7: Match 1 loser vs. Match 2 loser, 10 a.m.

Match 8: Match 3 loser vs. Match 4 loser, 11:45 a.m.

Match 9: Match 7 winner vs. Match 6 loser, 1:30 p.m.

Match 10: Match 8 winner vs. Match 5 loser, 3:15 p.m.

Match 11: Match 5 winner vs. Match 6 winner, 5 p.m.

Match 12: Match 9 winner vs. March 10 winner, 6:45 p.m., 4th place

Saturday

Match 13: Match 12 winner vs. Match 11 loser, 11 a.m., 3rd place

Match 14: Match 11 winner vs. Match 13 winner, 1 p.m., championship

Match 15: If necessary, 3 p.m., championship

 

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