State Volleyball

(all Lady Pirate state volleyball games are summarized below)

Polson faces long way back after loss

By DIXIE KNUTSON The Daily Inter Lake Daily Inter Lake

BOZEMAN – It’s a long way back now for the Polson Pirate volleyball team.

Laurel defeated the Northwestern A divisional champions 25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 25-23 in the first round of the Class A state tournament at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on Thursday.

To be state champions, the Pirates will have to win six straight volleyball matches between noon today and 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“We are used to the long way,” said Polson coach Jan Toth.

“We will let this roll off of our backs and see what tomorrow brings,” she said.

“But you can’t win a game where you are always on the defensive and where you have only one hitter putting the ball down,” Toth said.

Breanne Kelley had 19 kills for the Pirates. That’s terrific, but the next closest person was Ashley Johnson with six. On the other side of the court, the Locomotives had three people bunched together with 10, eight and five.

Added to Laurel’s stellar play was an erratic showing from the Pirates.

“If we added the points (the Locomotives) scored themselves and then added the points we scored for them … we would be on the winning side,” the coach said.

One example came in the forth game – the Pirates, trailing 21-17, put together four straight points with a kill, an ace and a block. But at 21-all, an easy tip from the Locomotives found the floor. Polson tied it again at 22-all, but then gave up a point when the Laurel setter dumped the ball. Another point slipped away when a hitter dumped the ball into the net.

The Pirates fended off one match point, but down 24-23, a set sailed wide of the antenna.

Kelley made a valiant effort to keep the ball in play, but her final shot was called wide of the antenna.

“We didn’t come ready. We didn’t come hungry enough and Laurel outplayed us,” Toth said.

“They didn’t let anything hit the ground and they controlled the ball the whole time. They didn’t hit the ball hard and it wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before,” she said.

The Pirates will play at noon today in loser-out action.

Other leaders for Polson were Johnson and Shay Duford with three aces each, Kayla Duford with 38 assists and Kendyall Rochin with 32 digs.

Kills – Polson 41 (Breanne Kelley 19, Ashley Johnson 6), Laurel 33 (Hannah Weishoff 10, Keilah Ahmann 8), Assists – Polson 41 (Kayla Duford 38), Laurel 27 (Jayde Lefevre 14, Tara Russell 12), Blocks – Polson 7 (Breanne Kelley 4), Laurel 8 (Madi Mills 5, Amanda Taylor 5), Digs – Polson 84 (Kendyall Rochin 32, Breanne Kelley 16), Laurel 171 (Ashley Steinmetz 41, Sam Sissel 35, Jayde Lefevre 35), Aces – Polson 10 (Ashley Johnson 3, Shay Duford 3), Laurel 7 (Ashley Steinmetz 2, Amanda Taylor 2).

Polson splits on second day of state volleyball

By DIXIE KNUTSON The Daily Inter Lake Daily Inter Lake

BOZEMAN – Too fast, too strong and too many.

The Billings Central Rams swept the Polson Pirates 25-15, 25-20, 26-24 in an afternoon loser-out contest at the Class A state volleyball tournament on Friday.

“Everybody tried so hard. The try was there, but we got a little intimidated,” said Polson coach Jan Toth.

“Billings Central was quick. We got intimidated, missed serves and then the passing went,” she said.

“We didn’t put up the block,” she added.

The effort was definitely there.

Breanne Kelley had 23 kills – in a three-set match. She also had 15 digs. Kayla Duford had 25 assists and served one ace and Kendyall Rochin had 26 digs and three aces.

The Pirates were right with Central in the early going. The teams were tied at 13-all in the first set, but Central picked up its game with seven kills in the next 10 points.

Polson, on the other hand, had four unforced errors. The Rams outscored the Pirates 12-2 to finish out the set.

The Pirates were closer in the next two sets – they were within three points at 20-23 in the second set. But Central got set point on a kill by Maggie Hanser and the Pirates were whistled in the net on the next point.

The final set was anybody’s game. Neither team led by more than three points. The Pirates fought off three Central match points, but didn’t have quite enough left to push through.

“But what a great bunch of kids,” Toth said. “It’s been fun to coach them. This is a great group of girls. It’s hard to let them go. They’ve made a name for Polson and they’ve given the underclassmen big shoes to fill,” she said.

“We fought through a lot of adversity this year. I was so proud of Riley (Kenney).”

Kenney played through the final weeks of the season with a shoulder injury.

“And what do you say to Breanne Kelley – 23 kills in three sets? Everything Kayla (Duford) gave to her, she put it down. She didn’t want to see the season end.

“She put on a show tonight. She and Kayla work so well together,” the coach said.

“Kayla did a great job offensively. She had a great four years. I am proud of what she has become as a setter.”

Kills – Central 50 (Ashley Heringer 14, Maggie Hanser 14) , Polson 33 (Breanne Kelley 23), Assists – Central 45 (Katie Cummins 38), Polson 25 (Kayla Duford 25), Blocks – Central 2 (Kalli Sizemore 2), Polson 6 (Sallie Sams 3), Digs – Central 65 (Ashley Heringer 22), Polson 85 (Kendyall Rochin 26, Breanne Kelley 15), Aces – Central 5 (Maggie Hanser 2, Alyssa Melder 2), Polson 4 (Rochin 3, Duford 1).

Polson 3, Stevensville 1

The Pirates blew a 10-point first-set lead in their first match of the day, but rallied to drop the Stevensville Yellowjackets from the tournament 20-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-17.

Kelley had 17 kills, six aces and two blocks to lead Polson.

The Pirates led Stevensville 15-5 in the first game, but the Yellowjackets crawled back in it on the serving of Michaila Funkhouser and Alexa Omlid. Funkhouser served seven straight to get the Jackets within four, then Omlid finished the set with seven straight to take Stevensville from one point down to a 23-20 lead.

The second set got off to a horrible start for Polson as it scored the first point, but fell behind 9-1.

The turnaround started when Kelley tooled a kill off the Jacket block, then jump served a pair of aces to get Polson into striking distance trailing 11-8. Polson hung around, within five or six points, until Kelley’s next turn at the service line. This time, she served seven straight, including two more aces and turned the Stevensville offense on its ear.

The Pirates rolled to claim the next two sets.

Kills – Polson 28 (Breanne Kelley 17, Sallie Sams 5), Stevensville 27 (Brittney Chilcott 12), Assists – Polson 28 (Kayla Duford 27), Stevensville 23 (Michaila Funkhouser 10), Blocks – Polson 8 (Riley Kenney 3, Kelley 2, Sams 2), Stevensville 5 (Chilcott 3), Digs – Polson 102 (Kendyall Rochin 26, Shay Duford 19), Stevensville 47 (Kyla Paulsen 13), Aces – Polson 20 (S. Duford 8, Kelley 6), Stevensville 9 (Alexa Omlid 3, Maddie Jones