BOZEMAN — If this was the end of an era, what a way to end it.
Seniors Miranda Wyatt (11) and Katelyn VanKirk (9) combined for 20 kills to help lift Manhattan Christian to a 25-12, 25-10, 25-17 win over Broadus in the Class C volleyball state championship Saturday at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. It was the Eagles' third consecutive title and fourth in the past five seasons.
"It's so fun. Every year we bring a new culture in, and so it's just really exciting to see the new environment that comes every single year," said VanKirk, one of six seniors on the Manhattan Christian team.
Wyatt, VanKirk and the Eagles jumped out to an early lead against Broadus, which was seeking the first volleyball title in program history after defeating Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale in the third-place match earlier in the day. The Eagles allowed only 12 points in the first set and just 10 in the second. Wyatt had 2.5 blocks in the match, and junior Bella Triemstra had 3.5.
"We were just ready for it. We wanted to get the championship really bad," Triemstra said. "In the previous years, I didn't really play, but this year I finally got to actually play. It was a really big moment for all of us."
Triemstra made the most of her time on the court Saturday, adding six kills to Manhattan Christian's dominant front line. Another junior, Sam Veltkamp, paced the Eagles' defense with a team-high 10 digs.
"This team was so close," VanKirk said. "We were the closest group that I've been a part of, and it was just really exciting to play with all my best friends."
Saturday's championship extended Manhattan Christian's stellar streak on the Class C courts. They've played for five consecutive state championships, placing second in 2020.
While Wyatt, VanKirk and fellow seniors Jocee Ruffatto, Avery Flikkema, Jacie Burley and Gracie Honey will move on, the Eagles appear to be in good hands with Triemstra, Veltkamp and others.
"We just work really hard," Triemstra said. "We spend so much time in the gym, and a lot of us spend a lot of time out of the volleyball season doing club seasons and working on and off and we just put in a lot of time and effort for it."
Zeason Schaffer had six kills and two blocks to lead Broadus, which took the long route to the championship match. The Hawks lost to Roy-Winifred in their first match of the state tournament. They then defeated Chester-Joplin-Inverness, Bridger and Twin Bridges in Friday loser-out matches.
Broadus defeated Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale 25-14, 24-26, 25-23, 25-22 in the third-place match Saturday morning.