A long weekend of volleyball ended with the Harrison-Willow Creek Wildcats bringing home a third place trophy and the Ennis Mustangs claiming fourth place at the District 8-C volleyball tournament in Manhattan.
Twin Bridges and Sheridan also competed in the tournament, but lost out.
The top four seeded teams at the tournament finished the exact same way. Gardiner claimed first place followed by Manhattan Christian, Harrison-Willow Creek and Ennis.
The Wildcats advance in the winner’s bracket with wins over White Sulphur Springs and tournament host Manhattan Christian. The Eagles and Wildcats fought through five close sets Friday afternoon before Harrison-Willow Creek ended up victorious. The Wildcats won the lengthy battle by just seven total points as the Eagles made it a close game–25-23, 25-23 and 15-12–in the Wildcat wins.
That evening, the Wildcats played another five-set match, this time against defending Class C state champions the Gardiner Bruins. The match marked the first time this season Harrison-Willow Creek was able to take a set from the Bruins. Gardiner’s last loss came at the claws of the Wildcats in 2011, and the Wildcats were close to upsetting the Bruins again as they managed to dig up the Bruins’ hard hits and get a few blocks up as well in the 25-10, 19-25, 18-25, 25-12, 15-7 loss.
Saturday’s rematch against the Eagles proved harder for Harrison-Willow Creek. The Wildcats were without starter Britt Cooper due to illness. The match went to four sets and some of the younger Wildcat reserves saw some playing time before the Eagles overpowered the weakened Wildcats.
Harrison-Willow Creek opens up the Western C Divisional tournament in Butte on Thursday at 1 p.m. against Charlo. Charlo comes in as the number one team from the 10-C District tournament. All games will be played at the Maroon Activity Center.
The Mustangs’ road to the divisional tournament hit a big bump in the second round of the district tournament–the Gardiner Bruins. Gardiner swept Ennis 3-0 and knocked the Mustangs to the loser bracket where they had to battle back to earn a longer season. The Mustangs began the tournament with a 3-0 win over Shields Valley.
In the loser bracket, Ennis topped in-county foe Twin Bridges 3-1 after losing the first set. The Mustangs fell to Manhattan Christian the following morning in three straight sets.
Ennis opens the divisional tournament at 10 a.m. against the winner of the Seeley-Swan versus Hot Springs match to determine the fifth place team from the 9/10-C district.
The seven seed Twin Bridges Falcons notched two wins and two losses at the district tournament. The Falcons first topped the West Yellowstone Wolverines in a play-in game on Thursday afternoon before falling to Manhattan Christian that evening.
The Falcons beat White Sulphur Springs to remain alive on Friday afternoon. They came out strong against Ennis, but fell short to end their season despite fairing better in three of five statistical categories–kills, digs and assists.
The Panthers gave number six seed White Sulphur Springs a run for their money in the teams’ play-in game Thursday afternoon. Just six days prior the Panthers lost to the Hornets 3-0 at home, but looked like an entirely different team at the tournament as they pushed the match to five sets.
Sheridan won sets two and three with quick and scrappy play that had them getting stray balls back on path and over the net as well as digging up the Hornets’ hits.