SIDNEY -- Day 1 of the State A volleyball tournament in Sidney began on Thursday morning with six matches scheduled to take place throughout the day. For updated scores and pairings from the tournament, please click here.
BILLINGS CENTRAL DEF. GLENDIVE 25-27, 25-17, 25-11, 25-22
Billings Central is bringing home more hardware.
The Rams defeated Glendive 25-27, 25-17, 25-11, 25-22 in a State A volleyball quarterfinal match Thursday to guarantee themselves a trophy for the fifth consecutive year. Billings Central won titles in 2017 and 2018 and placed second in 2016 and 2019.
Billings Central started slow but picked up momentum as the game wore on.
"I think it might be (nerves and the road trip). We did come over (Thursday), so a little bit of probably jet lag being on a bus for a long time, and some nerves," Billings Central head coach Anita Foster said. "Eight of the 12 girls have never played in a state championship tournament before, so I think there's some nerves going on, too."
The Rams hammered down 44 kills against Glendive, with Cindy Gray and Izzy Erickson each tallying 11. Mollie McGrail added six kills and four blocks. Central was also dangerous from the serve line, recording 13 aces in the win -- four from Grace Zeier and three each from Maria Stewart and Haley Jensen. Stewart also had 40 assists and 14 digs on the night, while Zeier added 24 digs.
Central will now meet Hardin in the undefeated semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday.
"I'm very aware Hardin is a very talented team with some very talented athletes on that side of the net. We just need to come and bring it," Foster said. "We can't at all depend on past performance and how they've performed and how we've performed. We definitely need to come prepared (Friday) to bring our A-game against them. They're a great team."
The win marked the 100th in the career of Gray, who has been a four-year contributor for Central. Gray, though, made a point to tell her teammates after the game that she wasn't satisfied at 100 and wants two more to cap her career.
Glendive got 13 kills from Brittany Kaufman and 12 from Madison Wahl in Thursday's loss. The Red Devils fall to loser-out play and will meet either Havre or Corvallis at 2 p.m. Friday.
HARDIN DEF. COLUMBIA FALLS 25-21, 23-25, 20-25, 25-18, 15-10
Hardin continued the East's strong day at the Class A state tournament in Thursday's quarterfinal round, rallying for a 25-21, 23-25, 20-25, 25-18, 15-10 win over previously unbeaten West champion Columbia Falls.
The Bulldogs will meet either Billings Central in an all-East undefeated semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday. Hardin is assured a trophy with its win.
"My first season with them, you have lots of expectations, but there's a lot that can go wrong as a first-year coach," Hardin head coach Sarah Passes said. "It's really special for me to get them back here to the state tournament and then get some hardware to bring back to Hardin for (the first time) in 15 years."
Alyssa Pretty Weasel had 21 of Hardin's 47 kills in the win over Columbia Falls, and the Bulldogs recorded 13 aces as a team. Jonna Lind, Tori Marty and Jessica Kehler each had three aces. Lind added 10 kills, LaFaye Russel had 2.5 blocks and Ryle Kogolshak had 42 assists for Hardin.
"When (Pretty Weasel) is on, we definitely want the ball in (Pretty Weasel's) hand. When the game is on the line, that's the person you want to see spin it," Passes said. "I think she's also just blended well with a bunch of other hitters. When need be, we have other hitters that get up and put the ball down, so it's definitely a big team effort."
The Wildkats, who were led by Mady Hoerner's 22 kills, fall to loser-out play. They'll play Polson or Ronan at 4 p.m. Friday.
BILLINGS CENTRAL DEF. RONAN 25-23, 25-21, 25-16
Cindy Gray had 14 kills, Mya Hanson added 10 and Maria Stewart dialed in 41 assists as Billings Central made quick work of Ronan in the final first round match at the State A volleyball tournament on Thursday.
Gray and Hanson led a Central attack that accumulated 46 team kills, while Ally Foster and Stewart helped the Rams on the defensive side, with Foster recording 20 digs to Stewart's 13.
Central will play again Thursday evening in the 8 p.m. quarterfinal match against Glendive. Ronan falls to loser-out action on Friday at noon, meeting Polson in a win-or-go home match.
GLENDIVE DEF. POLSON 27-25, 25-22, 13-25, 25-19
Madison Wahl went off for 28 kills and Brittany Kaufman added 16 more as Glendive knocked off Polson in four sets in a first-round match at the State A volleyball tournament on Thursday.
Wahl and Kaufman led a Red Devil offense that tallied 52 kills and 10 aces. Kaufman led Glendive with four of the aces, while Wahl and Tiana Carney added two apiece. Carney also added 37 digs in the win, while Saddie Egan was credited with 52 assists.
Polson was led by Maggie Todd's 15 kills and two blocks.
Glendive advances to Thursday night's 8 p.m. quarterfinal against Billings Central. Ronan will face Polson at noon on Friday in a loser-out match.
HARDIN DEF. CORVALLIS 19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-19
Alyssa Pretty Weasel compiled a match-high 17 kills, while Lefaye Russell added 13 more as Hardin sent reigning champion Corvallis to the loser's bracket with a four-set victory on Thursday afternoon. The Bulldogs dropped the opening match, 25-19, but rolled off three straight victories by scores of 25-21, 25-23, 25-19.
Pretty Weasel was credited with 4.5 blocks, while Rylee Kogolshak had all 33 of the Bulldogs' assists. Kogolshak also had three aces in the win.
Hardin will advance to Thursday evening's quarterfinal round against Columbia Falls, with match time scheduled for 6 p.m. Corvallis meets Havre Friday morning at 10 a.m. in a loser-out contest.
COLUMBIA FALLS DEF. HAVRE 25-21, 25-20, 25-11
Mady Hoerner had 13 kills, Dillen Hoerner chipped in with nine more and Columbia Falls swept Havre 25-21, 25-20, 25-11 on Thursday morning in the tournament's opening match.
The Wildkats slammed 41 kills against the Blue Ponies, who managed only 20 in the defeat. Hannah Schweikert assisted on 25 of Columbia Falls' 75 points, while also recording team-highs in aces (2) and blocks (2).
Columbia Falls advances to Thursday night's 6 p.m. contest against Hardin, while Havre meets Corvallis Friday morning in a loser-out match.