At Bozeman for the All-classification State volleyball tournament on the Montana State University campus, the Western fourth-seeded Lady Pirates of Polson were making their first State A appearance in eight seasons since a four-year run dating from 2008-2011 that included a fourth place finish in 2009.
Rerouted by Rams
The Lady Pirates drew top seed and defending back-to-back State A champion Billings Central Lady Rams.
Billings Central started quickly and took the first set handily, almost doubling up Polson.
The second set was more reflective of Lady Pirate capabilities as the challengers pushed their tally into the high teens before the Lady Rams secured the second set for a 2-0 advantage.
The third set featured some bring spots for Polson, but Billings Central cobbled together more of them as they would complete a sweep for the win and the match.
Detrimentally impacting their optimal capability to counterattack as well as block was an ankle injury sustained by Misty Tenas which would hinder her mobility the remainder of the tournament.
“Everything didn’t quite click in that game,” Polson coach Lizzy Cox said. “Our passing was a little off and we were a little bit timid. I don’t know if that’s from it being our first time and getting used to the court a little bit.”
Maggie Todd and Grace Quinones collaborated at the net on close to 20 spikes, while senior Lena Pawlowski set the table with 14 assists.
Libero Ara Mercer anchored the defense with 15 digs, while Todd and Quinones collaborated on another baker’s dozen.
In the consolation round, Polson faced the Hardin Lady Bulldogs. A sluggish start
plagued the Lady Pirates as they barely tallied into the teens for a first set deficit.
Polson shaped the tempo at the start of the second set, extending at lead by as much as a half dozen at 14-8 before Hardin rallied to knot the set at 15. After two more ties, the Lady Bulldogs edged ahead 19-17, forcing a Pirate timeout after a Hardin service ace.
The Lady Pirates would rally back to knot the set at 19. Back-to-back service aces by Maggie Todd would sandwich a Hardin timeout. Then it was the Lady Bulldogs turn to rally as they knotted the set at 21, then strung together a trio of points to edge ahead 24-21. Polson would close the gap to within one, 24-23, forcing another Hardin timeout. A Kobbey Smith service aces would knot the set at two dozen apiece.
If the Lady Pirates could harnass the momentum shift, they could knot the match at one set apiece. But a Hardin kill would be culminated by the coutre de grace point as Polson would drop the second set in extras, 24-26.
The Lady Pirates started out a little wobbly in the third set, but surged to tie the set at a half dozen apiece.
Hardin would be forced to call a timeout further down the line when the Lady Pirate lead extended to 16-11 after back-to-back Maggie Todd kills.
The Lady Pirates managed to maintain their margin at 18-13, 20-15, but thereafter, Hardin reeled off four points unanwered, forcing a Polson timeout. Hardin would erase the deficit with a 20 all tie, then edged ahead 21-20.
The Lady Pirates would knot the set at 21 apiece. But thereafter, a string of Hardin kills would only be broken by a Lady Bulldog service error, completing the sweep for the match win to end Polson’s foray into the postseason.
Grace Quinones and Maggie Todd led the Lady Pirate attack with a collaborative effort of 21 kills, while Todd dished out a quartet of sizzling spuds from the service line that were too hot to handle. Ara Mercer dug out two dozen digs on defense, while Todd and Quinones also notched double digits on defense.
Polson head coach Lizzy Cox commented, “So proud of the girls for earning a spot in the State A tournament.
“Of course we wanted to win a couple more games, but the girls fought hard to the end.”
The Lady Pirates graduate Grace Quinones, Misty Todd and Lena Pawlowski.
2019 State A VB Tournament
Brick Breeden Field House
Montana State University
Polson def. Hardin 3-0
(4W) Polson (11-9), (3E) Hardin (10-11)
Hardin def. Polson 25-13, 26-24, 25-22
KILLS – P27 (Grace Quinones 11, Maggie Todd 10, Lena 3, Misty Tenas 2, Kobb), H37 (Alyssa Pretty Weasel 16). ACES – P9 (Mags 4, Kobb 2, Lena 2, Ara), H10 (Nicole Green 6). ASSISTS – P22 (Lena Pawlowski 11, Berkley Ellis 9, Mags, Ara), H33 (Natalie Edgar 32). BLOCKS – P1 (Kobbey Smith), H4 (Alyssa PrettyWeasel 1.5). DIGS – P79 (Ara Mercer 24, Mags 22, GQ 11, Lena 7, Berk 6, Misty 5, Kobb 4), H48 (Jonna Lind 13). (Fr15Nov19gm7st) P16tae, P6se, P5be
Billings Central def. Polson 3-0
(4W) Polson (11-8), (1E) Billings Central (15-1)
BlgsC def. Polson 25-13, 25-19, 25-15
KILLS – P28 (Maggie Todd 12, Grace Quinones 7, Lena 4, Misty Tenas 3, Kobb, Hallie), BiC43 (Olivia Moten-Schell 17). ACES – P5 (Kobbey Smith, GQ, Lena, Mags, Chloe DuCharme), BiC7 (Carlyn Whitney 3). ASSISTS – P22 (Lena Pawlowski 14, Berkley Ellis 5, Hallie Moss 2, Mags), BiC39 (Maria Stewart 33). BLOCKS – P3 (Misty, Lena, Mags), BiC5 (Izzy Erickson 3). DIGS – P44 (Ara Mercer 15, Mags 7, GC 6, Berk 5, Misty 4, Kobb 3, Lena 2, Chloe 2), BiC41 (Maria Stewart 10). (Th14NOv19gm1st) P13tae, P3se, P11be
(gm14) Corvallis def. Billings Central 25-18, 25-21, 25-22 (championship)
(gm13) Billings Central def. Glendive 25-20, 25-19, 25-19 (3rd place)