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Blue Ponies, Longhorns fall on day one of state volleyball


Last updated 11/13/2020 at 9:26am

Pierre Bibbs

Fort Benton's Aspen Giese hits a ball during the Longhorn's win over Melstone Thurday morning in the Class C state tournament in Malta.

Across Montana, state tournaments for volleyball have kicked off, with games going off without a hitch and some intense bouts making their way to the court. As for the Hi-Line, the Fort Benton High volleyball team and the Havre High volleyball team played in their classes' respective 2020 State Tournament, with different results.

In the case of HHS, the Blue Ponies fell to the Columbia Falls Wildcats Thursday at Sidney High School in Sidney 3-0, the set scores being 21-25, 20-25, 11-25, putting a damper on the 2020 Class A State Tournament for the Blue Ponies to start.

It was a rough first game for the Ponies, but they stuck around throughout the first and second sets, often taking a couple leads over Columbia Falls. But the Wildcats and their potent offensive strength pushed to pull away in both sets, grabbing a 2-0 lead going into the third set.

Havre would push to try and reverse the momentum, but Columbia Falls drove onward, halting plenty of the Ponies' offensive power to seal the deal and pick up the sweep over HHS, sending the Ponies to the loser's bracket. Yelena Miller had one ace and seven kills, while Sydney Wilting put up 15 digs against the Wildcats.

And state did not get any easier for the Blue Pony spikers, as they faced the Corvallis Blue Devils just this morning.

Meanwhile, Fort Benton opened the 2020 Class C State Tournament against the Melstone Broncs, with the Longhorns coming away with the win 3-1, the set scores being 22-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-19, to move forward in the tournament and getting one step closer to a state chipper.

Fort Benton did have a rough go in the first set, as Melstone pulled away with a close 25-22 victory to start the bout up 1-0, but the Longhorns bounced back quickly to push through a tough second set, backed by key plays by Fort Benton to tie up the match 1-1.

From there, the Longhorns kept up the pace, thumping the Broncs multiple times to not only take the third set, but seal the game with a strong win in the fourth set to move into the next round, sending Melstone to the loser's bracket. Aspen Giese led Fort Benton with 13 kills, 13 assists, three blocks and eight digs, followed by Maci Molinario with three aces, six kills, eight assists and eight digs.

But the Longhorns would fall to the Manhattan Christian Eagles in a 3-0 sweep, the set scores being 21-25, 14-25 21-25, pushing Fort Benton to the loser's bracket and making the climb to a state chipper tougher now. Emerson Giese had two aces and Abby Clark had 10 kills against the Eagles. The Longhorns will have to wait till this afternoon to find out who their next opponent will be.

As for the next games for each team, the Blue Ponies played the Corvallis Blue Devils earlier this morning in a loser-out game at Sidney High School in Sidney, while the Fort Benton Longhorns will go up against the winner of the Simms Tigers-Charlo Vikings matchup at noon today. For both teams, it is a win or go home situation.

Columbia Falls def. Havre

21-25, 20-25, 11-25

HAV – Aces 3 (Yelena Miller 1, Alyssa Oliver 2); Kills 20 (Miller 7, Avery Carlson 4, Maddie Columbus 5) Assists 20 (Ellie Collins 17, Columbus 1, Molly Huse 1); Blocks 1 (Talia Ralph 1); Digs 58 (Sydney Wilting 15, Oliver 11, Samantha Lovenguth 9).

CF – Aces 4 (Lauren Faulkner 1, Hannah Schweikert 2, Mady Hoerner 1); Kills 41 (Dillen Hoerner 9, Mady Hoerner 13, Schweikert 6); Assists 26 (Jazzy Marino 1, Schweikert 25); Blocks 3 (Schweikert 2, Grace Gedlaman 1); Digs 46 (Marino 7, Dillon Hoerner 11, Mady Hoerner 12).

Fort Benton def. Melstone

22-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-19

FTB – Aces 7 (Maci Molinario 3, Ashlee Wang 2); Kills 30 (Molinario 6, Aspen Giese 13, Abby Clark 5); Assists 23 (Molinario 8, Wang 12, Giese 13, Cloe Kalanick 2); Blocks 11 (Giese 3, Samantha Vielleux 4, Clark 4); Digs 35 (Molinario 4, Giese 8, Jasmine Wilson 16).

MEL – Aces 6 (Sage Franzel 3); Kills 40 (Draya Wacker 11, Finn Riksman 13, Kaylee Thurston 7); Assists 37 (Koye Rindal 20); Blocks 4 (Finn Riksman 2); Digs 58 (Wacker 11, Finn Riksman 13, Teigan Schiffer 16).

Manhattan Christian def. Fort Benton

21-25, 14-25 21-25

FTB – Aces 2 (Emerson Giese 2); Kills 27 (Abby Clark 10, Maci Molinario 7, Aspen Giese 4); Assists 22 (Molinario 11, Ashlee Wang 8); Blocks 1 (Samantha Vielleux 1); Digs 23 (Jasmine Wilson 10, Aspen Giese 5, Emerson Giese 4).

MCS – Aces 17 (Kiersten 6, Katelyn 5, Maddie 2, Eliana 2, Hop 2); Kills 36 (Kiersten 16, Katelyn 9, Taylor 5); Assists 32 (Taylor 27, Kiersten 2, Eliana 2, Maddie 1); Blocks 11 (Hailey 4, Katelyn 3, Taylor 2); Digs 53 (Maddie 17, Eliana 10, Katelyn 8).


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