Polson Pirates prep for Western A volleyball tournament

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Polson Lady Pirate senior Misty Tenas knocks one down versus the Lady Bulldogs during a recent match. (Bob Gunderson file photo)

This upcoming weekend, Dillon will host the Western A Divisional volleyball tournament. The top four teams who survive their engagements will advance to compete in the State A tournament the following weekend against their Eastern A counterparts.

Top western seeds include the (1NW) Columbia Falls (12-1) WildKats and the (1SW) Corvallis (12-1) Lady Blue Devils. Both these top tier teams have been the most consistent the duration of the season and have to be considered among the favorites to make the championship.

The WildKats lone loss was a 3-0 sweep to Corvallis at the beginning of October, while the lone Lady Blue Devil loss was a 1-3 shortfall to 6B powerhouse Florence back in early September. The Kats prevailed over the Devils in the Tip-Off championship to inaugurate the season with all three sets hanging in the balance. Both teams made the championship bracket of the Missoula County Invitational a few weeks back while contending against several high caliber AA teams.

The second tier of contenders with winning records include the (2SW) Butte Central (10-3) Lady Maroons, the (2NW) Polson (9-5) Lady Pirates and the (3NW) Whitefish (10-5) Lady Bulldogs.

This trio are fairly evenly matched if one used as a gauge their most recent interaction with Polson in which both matches stretched to a fifth finale for all the marbles. On any given day, either team has the weapons at their disposal to take down the other.

The third tier of contenders lack winning records, but have created their share of difficulties when they played against upper tier teams during the course of the regular schedule.

These include the (3SW) Dillon (6-9) Lady Beavers, the (4SW) Stevensville (8-8) Lady Yellowjackets and the (4NW) Libby (7-8) Lady Loggers.

Second-seeded Polson has generated 751 kills, served up 222 aces from the service line, stuffed over 121 blocks and dug out 1323 defensive digs over the course of the regular schedule coupled with two tournaments.

The Lady Pirates feature a trio of century club kill contributors in junior outside hitter “Maximum Mayhem” Maggie Todd (245K), senior middle Misty “the Mystique” Tenas (180K) and junior outside hitter “Clobberin” Kobbey Smith (110K). Two others who are knocking at the door of cresting the century mark for kills include her royal HC majesty senior middle Grace Quinones, aka “GQ,” and senior setter Lena Pawlowski, the quintessential LP of team LP. Both are anticipated to do so over the course of the divisional tournament.

The top servers from the service line of sizzling spuds too hot to handle include Smith (53A), Pawlowski (46A), Quinones (34A), Todd (25A) and Berkley Ellis (25A). A pair of other Pirates who have dabbled among double digits for service aces include Tenas (17A) and Chloe DuCharme (14A).

The majority of the table setting is done by Pawlowski and Ellis, who have collaborated on a half millenium (500) worth of set assists.

The leading blockin-maniacs at the net among the Lady Pirates include Tenas (38B), Quinones (31B), followed by a tandem among the high teens in Hallie Moss (18B) and Todd (17B).

The top diggin dynamos on defense for digs include junior libero/defensive specialist Ara Mercer (339D), Todd (229D), Ellis (187D), Smith (176D), Quinones (131D) and Pawlowski (126D).

This year’s rendition of the Lady Pirates have a better than decent chance of being among the top four when the tournament wraps up.

Lady Loggers end Maiden VB voyage

At Libby for a NWA play-in, the visiting Maidens and the host Lady Loggers continued their growing tradition of highly competitive volleyball matches.

Having split their regular schedule encounters, the hosts would prevail with the winner securing the fourth-seed out of the Northwest for the upcoming Western A Divisional in Dillon this upcoming weekend.

The Maidens and Lady Loggers split the first two sets to even the match at one apiece. Libby would gain an edge with a very tightly contested third set during which both squads tallied among the 20s, eeking out a 2-1 advantage. Ronan made a valiant push to secure the fourth set to force a fifth set finale like they did a few weeks prior at home on Senior Night, but Libby maintained their margin to capture the match.

Madison Clairmont led the Maidens with 11 kills, while Madeline McCrea was the top diggin dynamo with 15 digs to go along with a quartet of blocks at the net.

The Maidens will graduate four seniors in Haylee Walchuk, Brooklyn Kenelty, Regan Clairmont and Madison Clairmont.

NWA play-in

Libby def. Ronan 3-1

(NW4) Libby (7-8), (NW5) Ronan (3-14)

Libby def. Ronan 25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-16

KILLS – R37 (Madison Clairmont 11), L41 (McKenzie Proffitt 9, Sheyla Gallagher 9). ACES – R4 (Olivia Clairmont, M.McCrea, Regan Clairmont, Haylee Walchuk), L7 (Proffitt 3). ASSISTS – R23 (Leina Ulutoa 15), L35 (Kylee Quinn 34). BLOCKS – R7 (Madeline McCrea 4), L6 (Proffitt 2, Ember Rode 2). DIGS – R41 (M.McCrea 15), L49 (Ashlyn Monigold 18, Julia Martineau 13). (M04Nov19playin)

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