GREAT FALLS — Choteau made it official last Friday: three straight trips to the State B volleyball tournament. The Bulldogs took out rival Fairfield in four sets in the Northern B divisional undefeated semifinal to clinch their spot.
"It's pretty great to be going back. It's like a tradition to go to state at Choteau," senior Christine Funk said. "And just being able to have the opportunity to go back is awesome."
Choteau overcame the Eagles again on Saturday for the divisional championship. On both days, Fairfield presented Choteau with challenges, forcing head coach Ann Funk to call timeout and remind her team there’s a reason the Bulldogs have only one loss on the year.
"I just said, 'Hey, you guys have to have confidence in what we're doing. We've been doing this all season. We've had a great, great run, so bleed confidence right now, in every skill set that we have,'" Ann said. "And they just started to play again, so credit to them."
"It comes from our bench and it comes from ourselves. We have to know that we can do it," added senior Ellie Lee. "And as soon as we allow ourselves to be confident in our play, that's when things start to change."
Overall, the Bulldogs are thankful for battles with their neighbors.
"I know our kids are very close with some of those kids," Ann said. "I can't say enough about (Fairfield's) competitive attitude towards us, especially (at divisionals). They made us better. They made us a better team. ... And for that, I hope we made them a better team."
Now it’s time for that confidence to shine. Choteau finished fourth last year, an accomplishment the Bulldogs are proud of, but this group wants more, the seniors especially.
"We want to just get things done. We want to take care of business and we want to play our game and have fun," Christine said. "Just like keeping the train going and just keeping our momentum up."
The Bulldogs will open against Thompson Falls at noon on Thursday at the State B tournament in Shelby.