MALTA -- There will be no Manhattan Christian repeat. Instead, a drought is over.
The Bridger Scouts won the 2020 State C volleyball championship on Saturday, the 11th in program history, after beating the reigning champion Eagles in four sets. Bridger had finished no lower than fourth in the last three seasons, but a championship eluded them. Now, the Scouts can exhale.
"Three years we've been waiting to do this. Yeah, I think they were sick of second place. They really wanted to get it done today," head coach Lena Kallevig said."(We) took the long route, but that's okay. The end result's what we wanted."
Bridger and Manhattan Christian took essentially identical paths to the championship match as they did in 2019. Bridger won the undefeated semifinal over the Eagles on Friday, then Christian came back through the bottom of the bracket. The only difference this year? The Scouts held on.
The Eagles, who beat Plentywood earlier in the day in the third-place game, forced the "if necessary" championship after beating Bridger in four sets.
But the Scouts responded by taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the second match. Manhattan Christian, whose only prior loss on the season was to Bridger on Friday, wouldn't bow out early, winning the fourth set.
But it was Christian's third overall match of the day, and the Eagles ran out of gas. Bridger used dominant performances from seniors Emily Adkins and Jenna Kallevig, the coach's daughter, and took advantage of timely Manhattan Christian mistakes to win the program's first title since 2004.
"It's a childhood dream, especially of mine. And you know, I think we all got a little nervous when we lost that first one," Adkins said. "In the locker room, we're just like, 'Hey, we can do this. All we have to do is regroup. We know how to play against them, they're going to be tired.' And we just came out and gave everything we got."
Adkins had 26 kills in the first championship and 22 in the second, putting the icing on a stellar tournament. The younger Kellavig had 17 kills in the first championship and eight in the second.
But one possibly overlooked factor the helped the Scouts was their ability to stave off a relentless offensive attack from Manhattan Christian. Kyra Kroll had 15 and 33 digs in the championships, respectively, while Baileigh Skorupa and Adkins each held their own as well.
"I don't think girls like Manhattan Christian are used to being dug like that. You know, they they hit the ball, it goes down a lot," coach Kellavig said. "And so it does get frustrating and tiring when they have to swing more often. And I think they got a little fatigued in that last one."