Flathead and Glacier Volleyball Head to State

By Beacon Staff

The Glacier Lady Wolfpack enter this week’s Class AA state volleyball tournament riding a five-game conference winning streak and claiming the No. 3 seed. The Flathead Braves head into the tournament as a decided underdog against three-time defending champion Billings Senior.

The Lady Wolfpack face Eastern AA’s No. 2 seed Billings West on Thursday at 4 p.m. Glacier punched its ticket to the Nov. 20-22 state tournament by dominating Missoula Hellgate 3-0 in a loser-out playoff match on Nov. 14. Glacier has a 13-9 record, including 9-4 in the conference.

Not to be outdone by their cross-town rival, the Flathead Lady Braves clinched Western AA’s final spot in the state tourney by sweeping Missoula Big Sky 3-0 on the road on Nov. 15. Flathead’s record is 5-14 with a 4-9 conference mark.

The Braves, seeded fourth, open up the tourney against unanimous No. 1 Billings Senior on Thursday at 10 a.m. Senior has not lost a match nearly three years, winning 62 consecutive matches and three straight state championships. The Lady Broncs are 27-0 this year.

In Class A, Polson and Libby emerged from last week’s divisional tournament as Northwestern A’s representatives at the state tournament, also held Nov. 20-22. The seasons are over for Flathead County’s three teams: Columbia Falls, Whitefish and Bigfork.

Whitefish is in unfamiliar territory, staying home while two other teams from the conference move on to state. Under head coach Jackie Fuller, Whitefish has won five out of the past eight Class A championships. Last year the Lady Bulldogs finished second. But Whitefish struggled with a tough field at the Northwestern A divisionals, dropping matches to Libby and Ronan.

Libby faces Belgrade on Thursday at 2 p.m. while Polson meets defending championship Lewistown at 12 p.m. on Thursday.

The state tournaments for Class A, AA, B and C are held at Montana State University’s Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman on Nov. 20-22. The tournament format is double elimination.

Class AA Tournament Bracket (all first-round games on Thursday):

Western No. 4 Flathead vs. Eastern No. 1 Billings Senior at 10 a.m.
Eastern No. 3 Great Falls vs. Western No. 2 Missoula Sentinel
Eastern No. 4 C.M. Russell vs. Western No. 1 Helena at 2 p.m.
Western No. 3 Glacier vs. Eastern No. 2 Billings West at 4 p.m.

Class A Tournament Bracket (all first-round games on Thursday):

Southwestern No. 2 Dillon vs. Eastern No. 1 Miles City at 10 a.m.
Northwestern No. 2 Polson vs. Central No. 1 Lewistown at 12 p.m.
Central No. 2 Belgrade vs. Northwestern No. 1 Libby at Thursday at 2 p.m
Eastern No. 2 Billings Central vs. Southwestern No. 1 Anaconda at 4 p.m.

Class B Tournament Bracket (all first-round games on Thursday):

Florence-Carlton vs. Manhattan Christian at 10 a.m.
Broadwater (Townsend) vs. Choteau at 12 p.m.
Colstrip vs. Fairfield at 2 p.m.
Loyola Sacred Heart (Missoula) vs. Huntley Project at 4 p.m.

Class C Tournament Bracket (all first-round games on Thursday):

Bridger vs. Highwood at 10 a.m.
Gardiner vs. Circle at 12 p.m.
Absarokee vs. Simms at 2 p.m.
Saco/Hinsdale vs. White Sulphur Springs at 4 p.m.

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