BOZEMAN - People talk all the time about teams of destiny. But when it comes to the Bridger Scouts, they might be starting to actually believe it.
Bridger nearly took home the Class C state championship last season, but fell to Belt and now, after rallying to beat Manhattan Christian by the scores 25-20, 12-25, 23-25, 25-13 and 15-10 in a five-set thriller, the Scouts punched their ticket back to the state championship match.
"After getting second last year, we wanted to take that one extra step," Bridger's Emily Adkins said. "People doubt us and we just want to prove them wrong."
Friday night at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman the Scouts did just that. After battling into a fifth set against Manhattan Christian, they found themselves trailing in the decisive set 8-4 after a kill by Kiersten Van Kirk.
Only the Scouts never wavered and roared back, closing the match on an 11-2 run to knock off the Eagles in five sets.
"We knew what was at stake," Adkins said. "Even though it was the undefeated semifinals or whatever, we knew that last match was at stake and it's just crazy. Right now I am speechless."
Adkins may be speechless but it was her play on the court that's hard to describe after she finished with 24 kills and four aces. Jenna Kallevig also managed 12 kills, three blocks and 21 digs.
Kiersten Van Kirk did her best to lead Manhattan Christian to the title match with 28 kills and four blocks, but the Eagles will drop into loser-out action at 10 a.m. Saturday against Belt or Plentywood.
Bridger, on the other hand, will await the winner of Saturday's morning match in the Class C state title match at 12 p.m.
Belt 3, Plentywood 1
They say you should never underestimate a champion and that's a message that the Belt Huskies sent the rest of the Class C state tournament field Friday.
Following a loss in the opening match Thursday, the Huskies won three times on Friday, including a 3-1 win over Plentywood in the final match of the day to clinch at least a top-three finish and keep hope alive for a repeat
"It feels really great since we started really bad," Belt's Kolby Pimperton said. "It feels good to beat the team that beat us."
And while the Wildcats put up a good fight, the Huskies left little doubt as they won by the scores of 25-17, 25-18, 109-25 and 25-12.
Abby Gliko led the Huskies with 19 kills. Pimperton added 29 assists and Lindsey Paulson added five blocks. Donn Longan managed 19 kills in the loss for the Wildcats.
Belt will advance to the 10 a.m. match where the Huskies will face Manhattan Christian for a berth in the championship match.
Plentywood 3, Charlo 2
Volleyball is a game of momentum and after rallying for a win over Charlo Friday, the Plentywood Wildcats have it.
Just like in the match prior, when Belt rallied past Fort Benton, Plentywood did the same to Charlo, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to win the match in five sets by the scores of 25-20, 19-25, 23-25, 25-19 and 15-8.
Donn Longan paced the Wildcats in the win with 23 kills. She was aided by teammate Liv Wangerin who also managed 19 kills.
Carlee Fryberger led the way for the Vikings in defeat with 20 kills. Kassidi Cox pitched in with 16 assists.
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Plentywood will take on Belt at 8 p.m. to advance to Saturday.
Belt 3, Fort Benton 2
To say that Belt and Fort Benton are familiar with each other is an understatement.
And so it was no surprise that when the two teams met for the 10th time this season Friday at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in loser-out action at the Class C state tournament, the match went to five sets.
But in the end, it was the Huskies, who are the defending state champs, that found a way, edging the Longhorns with a 16-14 win in the fifth set, which gave the Huskies a 3-2 win. The two teams alternated wins in the first four sets before heading to a fifth.
"I definitely think that I aged about five years," Belt head coach Christine Gondeiro said. "Everytime we have seen them it's been a battle. They are a great team and they always play so hard against us. I am just proud of the way that we have both represented the Northern C."
Kyelie Marquis led the way for the Huskies with 19 kills in the five-set marathon. She also added two aces. Abby Gliko pitched in with 13 kills, two aces and two blocks. Kolby Pimperton also managed 41 assists.
McKenzie Clark led the Longhorns with 15 kills. Abby Clark added 14 and Nicole Axtman with 12 kills. Cassie Nack also added 18 digs.
Belt will play the winner of Charlo and Plentywood for a berth in the second semifinal Saturday morning.
Charlo 3, Westby-Grenora 0
Charlo missed an opportunity to pull an upset in the opening round of the Class C state tournament, falling to Fort Benton in four sets Thursday.
But on Friday, the Vikings kept their hopes alive, defeating Westby-Grenora in straight sets 25-20, 25-15 and 25-18 to advance in loser-out action.
Carlee Fryberger filled the stat sheet for Charlo as she totaled 15 kills, three blocks and an ace. Kassidi Cox added 20 assists and Destiny Manuel had 21 digs.
Jenna Rust led the way for the Thunder with 11 kills, 17 digs and two aces. Elizabeth Field also contributed with 17 assists.
Charlo will take on Plentywood at 4 p.m. Westby-Grenora is out.
Belt 3, Roy-Winifred 1
The Belt Huskies entered the 2019 Class C state volleyball tournament as the defending champions, but after losing Thursday and dropping the first set to Roy-Winifred Friday morning, it looked like they could be headed home.
Yet, with their backs against the wall, the Huskies responded, rallying for a 3-1 win over Roy-Winifred, knocking off the Outlaws 19-25, 25-14, 25-20 and 25-18.
Abby Gliko led the way for the Huskies will 10 kills. Shelby Paulson and Kyelie Marquis had nine. Marquis also finished with four aces. Kolby Pimperton pitched in with 32 assists and three blocks.
Dyauni Boyce had a solid all-around showing, notching 12 kills and 33 digs. Cassie Smith added 27 assists.
Belt will play again at 2 p.m. against Fort Benton Roy-Winifred is out.