MISSOULA — Missoula Sentinel junior Shelby Schweyen considers herself mainly a basketball player and track and field athlete.
Volleyball is third in what the outside hitter believes to be her best sport, but she was determined to return for this volleyball season after suffering an ACL injury during basketball season.
She’s been back for six matches and played in her first crosstown game of the season when the Spartans, who were without Gatorade Player of the Year Elsa Godwin, used a group effort to sweep Missoula Hellgate 25-13, 25-14, 25-16 on Thursday at Hellgate.
“I really wanted to get back and play with the girls on this team because they’re awesome,” said Schweyen, who played with a brace on her left knee. “Also the opportunity we have to do something special this year is really awesome, and I’m really excited for what the end of the season has in store.”
Schweyen was tied with Kylie Frohlich for second on the team with seven kills against Hellgate. Cassie North led the Spartans with eight.
Jordyn Schweyen had a team-high five aces as the Spartans put down 14 across three sets. She also led the Spartans with three blocks and 25 assists.
“We played three different lineups all three sets, so I’m proud of the whole team for being savvy and scrappy and making changes throughout the whole match,” Sentinel coach Erin Keffeler said. “We’re looking at different lineups because of injuries and some different things and having people play different positions. I think that’s going to make us stronger in the end.”
The return of Shelby Schweyen, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter tied for the tallest on the team, has been a welcome addition with Godwin sidelined the last handful of matches because of an ankle injury. She said she’s “really liking” how her knee is feeling and has been focused on “getting back in the flow of playing sports.”
While Keffeler said it’s “hard to tell” what the team will look like come playoffs, she’s been pleased with North’s improving play on the outside and Frohlich’s ability to play all six rotations the past four matches. She’s also been delighted with Shelby Schweyen working her way back and getting used to moving around to different positions.
“She’s still working on her swing consistency and her timing some,” Keffeler said. “But, man, that girl competes inside and outside all the time. I love having her on the court. She jumps out of the gym and is a blocking force.”
Even with Godwin not playing, the Knights were unable to take a set from the defending state champs, like they did when they forced a four-setter against the Spartans on Sept. 23.
“When the Gatorade Player of the Year is sitting on the bench and pretty much every other person on that team can hit just as good as she can, it was tough to defend,” Hellgate coach Matty Hancock said. “They were digging pretty much everything, getting a touch on most of our hits.
“They have a great serve. Their serves come across the net and just drop so fast where our girls are stuck in their feet. That was a huge part of them beating us.”
Sentinel never trailed in any of the three sets on Thursday, with Hellgate holding a tie just four times. Kate Koenig led the Knights with six kills and one ace.
The Spartans broke a 3-3 tie in the opening set with a 9-0 run that included three aces by Caitlin Beem. After Hellgate got within 14-9, Jordyn Schweyen ripped off three aces during a 6-0 run.
Sentinel led the entire way in the second set. The Knights got as close as 13-9 before the Spartans went on a 6-1 run that included a Jordyn Schweyen ace. Shelby Schweyen ended the scoring with her fourth kill of the set.
In the third set, the Knights used a 3-0 run after a timeout to tie the set, 7-7, but their roll ended when they hit the ball into the net. They scored consecutive points only once the rest of the way, when they were down 24-14. The Spartans used a 5-0 run with two aces by Aly Druyvestein, a 4-0 run and a 3-0 run that put the match out of reach.