Flathead and Glacier played two dramatic matches during the regular season.
Thursday’s state tournament play-in match required no such drama.
The Bravettes (19-11) swept their crosstown rival 25-18, 25-19, 26-24 at Flathead High School to secure a berth in the Class AA state tournament for the first time since 2015 and end the young Wolfpack’s season.
Flathead, ranked No. 3 in the state, has the misfortune of playing in the same conference as the state’s top two teams — Helena Capital and Helena High, respectively — and will therefore compete as the conference’s third seed at the state tournament, matching up against Eastern Conference second seed Bozeman on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 4 p.m.
Seeding, however, was far from the Bravettes mind Thursday night. Flathead and Glacier played a five-set nail-biter the first time they met on the south side of Kalispell back in September, and even their match at Glacier last month saw the Wolfpack win game one before Flathead rallied.
This time, however, Flathead used a six-point run midway through game one and rallied back from a 5-0 hole in game two to take a commanding lead. Game three did provide some drama as the Wolfpack (10-18) led by as many as five points and even had a 24-22 advantage before Flathead closed the match with a 4-0 surge, capped by a block from Hannah O’Dell and Julia Burden on the final point.
Flathead started five seniors in the contest but it was Burden, a junior, who led the way statistically. She finished with 10 kills, five in the first game, and added two blocks. Senior Taylor Henley added seven kills and four blocks while classmate Madde Boles put down nine kills of her own.
Glacier, meanwhile, trotted out a starting seven that featured two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman. The Wolfpack, seeded sixth in the Western Conference, reached Thursday’s match after sweeping Missoula Big Sky two days earlier. Senior Kali Gulick led the Wolfpack with nine kills. Aubrie Rademacher chipped in eight more in a losing effort.
The double-elimination Class AA tournament runs Nov. 8-10 at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman. Flathead’s last top-three finish at the event came in 2012 when the Bravettes were runner-up to Billings Senior.