In the second round of the Class AA volleyball state playoffs, Great Falls CMR, Helena High, Helena Capital and Billings West advanced to the penultimate round of the playoffs.
1E) Great Falls CMR def. 4W) Kalispell Glacier 25-19, 25-17, 25-13
GREAT FALLS -- Time and time again the Great Falls CMR Rustlers prove to be stout and did so again Saturday, downing the Kalispell Glacier Wolfpack in straight sets to advance to the semifinal roundup. The Wolfpack found themselves down one set early in the match after a hitting error ended the first set in favor of the Rustlers.
Lauren Lindseth led the Rustlers with 17 kills, and Anna Broquist added 12 more for a team total of 35.
If the Rustlers get an inch, they'll take a mile. In the second set, CMR rattled off a 9-1 run to open the set before Glacier was able to settle in and score five straight to get it back to a manageable deficit. But the Rustlers had no trouble running away with the second set, ending it with a Madi Mohler kill. The Wolfpack found a bit of life early in the third set, knotting the score at 8-8, but stumbled midway through and were unable to mount a comeback.
Emma Anderson led the Wolfpack with 12 of the team's 30 kills.
With the win, the Rustlers will host the Helena High Bengals on Nov. 10 to determine who heads to the Class AA title game.
2W) Helena High def. 3E) Billings Senior 25-8, 25-20, 25-12
HELENA -- In a dominant fashion, the Helena High Bengals advanced to the Class AA semifinals after beating the Billings Senior Broncs in straight sets. The Bengals immediately threw the Broncs off their game early with a 9-3 run. The Broncs were able to stand straight after teetering early in the first set but were no match for the hungry Bengals squad, as Helena rattled off a seven-point run late in the set to take the early lead.
The second set was almost like a new team emerged from the Broncs' bench as they kept pace with the Bengals, knotting the score at 7-7 and only trailing by three points midway through the set. With that three-point lead, the Bengals opted for a timeout and promptly put the second set away in their favor shortly after. The third set was almost a repeat of the first for both teams. The Bengals went on a 7-1 run early in the set and the set was capped off by a hitting error for the Broncs.
The Bengals will travel to Great Falls CMR to take on the Rustlers in a rematch of last year's third-place match on Nov. 10.
1W) Helena Capital def. 4E) Bozeman 25-13, 25-12, 25-17
HELENA -- The Helena Capital Bruins kept their win streak alive and advanced to the semifinal round of the Class AA volleyball tournament after knocking off the Bozeman Hawks in straight sets.
Liz Heuiser led the Bengals with 22 kills and four blocks.
The Hawks kept the first set tight at 7-6 before the Bruins stormed off on a 7-0 run to make it 13-6 midway through the first set. The Hawks tried to keep the first set close but fell short in the effort. The Bruins took a quick lead in the second set at 12-5 on a Paige Bartsch ace, one of her 12 on the day. The Bruins wrapped up the second set neatly on one of Dani Bartsch's 10 kills in the game. The Hawks found some life in the third set, down only two points at 16-14, but the Bruins dominated the latter minutes of the set en route to the victory.
Anna Whitney led the Broncs with five kills and Olivia LaBeau lead the team in blocks with three.
The Bruins will now play host to the Billings West Golden Bears as they look to make their case for their third straight Class AA title.
2E) Billings West def. 3W) Missoula Sentinel 29-27, 25-14, 25-27, 25-23
BILLNGS -- After taking a 2-0 set lead, the Billings West Golden Bears fell just short of a straight sets win, but will still head to the semifinals after a 3-1 victory over Missoula Sentinel.
Kaitlin Grossman led the way for the Gold Bears with 24 kills. Addie Allen and Taylor Graham.
The Bears did what they could to finish the match in straight sets, however. Down 16-10 midway through the third set, they drew the set back to a 24-24 tie before the Spartans pulled away at the last moment to cut their deficit to just one set.
In the fourth set, the Golden Bears held anywhere from a one-point to a seven-point lead until the Spartans were able to come firing from behind to take the lead late in the set at 23-22. The Bears were able to dig deep and score three straight points to knock the Spartans out of the State AA tournament.
West will make the trip to Helena to take on reigning Class AA champion Helena Capital in the semifinal round on Nov. 10.