Pirates Top Seed at Divisionals, Tourney Starts Thursday

By Beacon Staff

A week after the football team wrapped up its second consecutive divisional title, the Polson High School volleyball team brought another Northwestern A crown to town.

The Lady Pirates capped off an undefeated 13-0 (8-0) season with a 3-0 shutout of Frenchtown on Halloween. Setter Kayla Duford had 32 assists in the match, giving her 394 for the season. The standout junior averaged over nine assists per game during the season, a conference best by a wide margin.

Polson gets a first-round bye in the Northwestern A divisional tournament, which begins Thursday at Libby High School. The Pirates await the winner of fourth-seeded Columbia Falls and fifth-seeded Ronan, while second-place Libby faces third-seeded Whitefish. There are five teams in the conference now that Bigfork is in Class B. The championship match is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The Pirates were a genuine powerhouse throughout the season, showing few weaknesses on offense or defense. They led the conference in nearly every major team statistical category, including assists, kills, aces, blocks and digs. Polson averaged more than five aces per game; Libby was the only other team in the league to average more than three.

Leading the Polson attack were a pair of juniors – Breanne Kelley and Duford – and pair of seniors in Nicole Davey and Staci Benson. Davey finished second in the regular season in kills behind Libby’s Jackie Mee. Benson led the league in digs. Between the four of them, along with a couple of other key role players, the Pirates established themselves as the league frontrunners from early on in the season.

With an 8-4 (6-2) record, Libby is the No. 2 seed at divisionals. Whitefish is the third seed at 7-5 (4-4), Columbia Falls is fourth at 4-9 (2-6) and Ronan is fifth at 0-11 (0-8). The top two teams move on to state. Last year Libby and Polson advanced, with the Pirates bowing out of the state tourney in straight matches and Libby advancing all the way to the semifinals.

The all-class state volleyball tournament is held Nov. 12-14 at Montana State University in Bozeman.

After years of contending for the Northwestern A title, Bigfork was in new territory this year as a member of District 7-B. The Valkyries adapted to their surroundings admirably, as evidenced by their first-place finish in last week’s district tournament. The Vals defeated Eureka 3-2 to claim the 7-B crown.

With the district victory, Bigfork will be a top seed at the Western B divisional tournament in Superior this weekend. Eureka, Thompson Falls and St. Ignatius also earned berths the divisional tourney, which will be held at Superior High School on Nov. 5-7.

In regional Class AA action, Flathead High School finished the regular season in the middle of a heated league race. The Bravettes are fourth out of the eight-team Western AA, giving them the right to host a playoff game. Flathead, with an 11-11 (6-6) record, welcomes Helena Capital to town on Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. The winner advances to the state tournament and the loser’s season is over.

Glacier High School finished just behind its cross-town rival, even though it had the better overall record. The Wolfpack are 12-11 but only 5-7 in league play, giving them the sixth seed. Glacier is scheduled to play in Missoula against No. 3 Missoula Sentinel on Thursday at 7 p.m. The winner moves on to state. League champion Helena High has a bye to the state tournament.

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