RED LODGE — Huntley Project, Joliet and Colstrip have clinched berths in next weekend's State B volleyball tournament in Shelby.
Project defeated Joliet in the undefeated semifinal and Colstrip defeated Roundup in the fourth-place match on Friday night in Red Lodge at the Southern B divisional tournament to keep their seasons alive.
Project pounced on Joliet early, winning the first two sets before the J-Hawks captured the momentum in the third set to force a fourth. The Red Devils, though, exacted revenge for last weekend's loss in the second championship match of the District 4B tournament, winning 25-16, 25-18, 22-25, 25-17.
"When we got back to practice Monday, I just told them, 'Hey, we're all 0-0. We qualified. Let's just see if we can get a little bit more relentless on defense. Move some kids around, give me that last diving effort,'" Huntley Project head coach Iona Stookey said. "I thought we did a good job of picking up a lot of those big hits, not swinging so much on Makenna (Bushman). She's a great hitter and she's going to get her kills, but if we can make better reads and at least try and dig some of those up and come back swinging, I thought they did a great job with that. I thought (setter) Macee (Murphy) moved the ball around really well for us, and I thought we served really well."
Josie Hassler led Project with 16 kills, while Greta Peterson added 12, as the Red Devils had 53 as a team. Macee Murphy had two aces, 37 assists and 26 digs to pace the Red Devils. Makenna Bushman, a Rocky Mountain College commit, paced Joliet with 14 kills, 20 digs, two aces and 2.5 blocks. Skyler Wright had 11 kills and 20 digs.
In the nightcap, Colstrip and Roundup decided the third and final spot at the State B tournament out of the Southern B.
Colstrip won the first two sets before Roundup stole the third to fight off elimination. The Fillies, though, had too much firepower on Friday night for the Panthers to handle. Addison Casterline had a game-high 20 kills to lead the Fillies to a 25-22, 25-15, 22-25, 25-23 win.
"I'm so proud of them. I am elated. That was our goal from Day 1, is just to get to state. We'll set a different goal, but we just accomplished it. I'm just so proud of them. I just want to enjoy the moment for a little bit with the kids," Colstrip head coach Kami Egan said. "I did (have uneasiness) just because sometimes when you get up, you tend to relax a little bit, and we did. That's something we didn't want to do, obviously. They battled back in the fourth (set). Roundup is a good team. We knew divisionals was going to be tough. We knew it would be a dogfight to get out of here. I'm just so proud of them."
Abby Baer had 32 assists to lead lead Colstrip, while Casterline added four blocks to her 20 kills. Ashtynn Egan had 28 digs, two aces and the game-winning kill. Roundup was led in kills by Meeghan Eiselein with 11. Blythe Sealey had 27 assists and 20 digs.
Colstrip will play Joliet at 10 a.m. on Saturday in the third-place match with the winner facing Huntley Project in the championship. The winner of the third-place match will need to beat Huntley Project twice to advance.