The Missoula Big Sky girls put the finishing touches on their Western AA championship season with a 3-2 home win over Helena Capital Thursday. Although no one seems to know for sure, the title is reportedly the first for the Big Sky girls since 1993. The Eagles earned an automatic berth into the state tourney on Oct. 25-27 in Helena.
Big Sky (9-2-1) and Capital (4-7-1) traded goals in the first 24 minutes. Whitney Morrison gave Big Sky the lead for good with her goal on an assist from Hannah Santamaria in the 25th minute. TiLynn McGreevey made it 3-1 on an assist from Morrison in the 46th minute and that goal proved to be crucial because the Bruins scored in the 80th minute.
Eagles coach Courtney Shields said senior leadership has been key to her team's breakthrough season.
"Our four seniors are just really impactful and motivate the team to play their best," she said of a group that includes McGreevey, Cheyenne Cathey, Kami Koster and Grasey Szwedkowicz.
The winless Big Sky boys dropped a 4-1 home decision to Capital. Scoring for the Bruins were Ryan Quinn and Chris Meza along with Norris Blossom and Christian Swingley, who notched their first career goals. Quinn has a team-high nine goals.
Despite losing at Kalispell Flathead, 2-1, the Missoula Hellgate girls still accomplished their No. 1 goal Thursday: They finished second in the Western AA standings at 5-2-5. They did so because Sentinel (5-4-3) lost at Kalispell Glacier, 4-2. Lucia Baker had a goal for Hellgate. Aisley Allen had two goals for Sentinel.
The Western AA champion Hellgate boys finished their regular season with a 2-0 win at Kalispell Flathead. Matt Baldridge and Dane Becker scored for the Knights (11-0-1). Sentinel (7-5) finished its regular season with a 2-0 win at Glacier. The third-place Spartans will compete in a state play-in game next week against the winner of a playoff game between Glacier and Big Sky.
Missoula Hellgate handed Missoula Sentinel its first crosstown loss in four years, rallying for a four-set win at Sentinel, 13-25, 25-5, 25-20, 25-19. Hannah Worden hammered 11 kills for the Knights and Jessica Eichenlaub came up big with 14 digs and five aces. Sheridan Schweyen had 13 kills for the Spartans.
"The girls were just hungry for the win," Hellgate coach Matty Hancock said. "They had their mind set prior to the match and it's them just switching the mentality and having more confidence. It was so fun to see them work hard and my assistant coaches are amazing. One threw together a new lineup on the fly after we lost the first set and we stuck with it for the last three sets."
Drummond made quick work of visiting Lima, sweeping to a 25-8, 25-17, 25-8 victory. Donna Seekel had nine kills for the Trojans, followed by Hannah Bradshaw with eight and Hailey Swarengin six.
Stevensville had a hiccup in the third set but regrouped to beat visiting Polson in four, 25-11, 25-20, 24-26, 25-11. Prestley Robinson piled up 10 kills, 11 digs and three aces for the Yellowjackets.
Kylee Altmiller collected nine kills and four blocks in helping Plains to a home sweep over St. Regis, 25-17, 25-21, 25-22. Emma Hill had nine kills and three blocks for the Tigers.
Ronan was overpowered by visiting Libby, 25-12, 25-18, 25-15. Rylie Lindquist had 16 digs for the Maidens.
Corvallis boosted its record to 11-1 with a home sweep of Dillon, 25-11, 25-11, 25-9. Charlotte Powell had 12 kills and three aces for the Blue Devils.