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Missoula Hellgate reaches goal of state tournament, now pressure off for Knights

Posted at 9:00 PM, Nov 06, 2018

MISSOULA – The big show returns to Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman this week. The all-class state volleyball tournaments start serving on Thursday morning, and the Missoula Hellgate Knights will be one of 32 teams in the Class AA bracket this year.

The team’s main goal all year was to make it to state. A veteran Hellgate team loaded with seniors finished the regular season ranked fifth in the Western AA, but the Knights took down No. 4, crosstown rival Missoula Sentinel in a thrilling playoff.

Now, second-year head coach Matty Hancock loves his team’s position. They Knights will head to state as underdogs able to play loose with no pressure, and his team has long dreamed of this chance.

“I think we all have wanted it more than in the past seasons,” said senior setter Liza Littig. “We really saw the potential we had as a team and knew that we could make it to state and worked a lot harder than the past seasons.”

“For all of us being seniors, we’re just all so excited to have this opportunity, because in the past years it hasn’t really gone our way,” said senior libero Jessica Eichenlaub. “But us just bringing the maturity to the court really pulls our dynamic together.”

Hellgate plays the first game of the State AA tournament against Billings West, the Eastern AA’s top seed. The Knights and Golden Bears get the day started at 10 a.m. Thursday.

For the complete list of matchups and schedules at the all-class tournament, please click here.