With regular season at a close, the Clark Fork Lady Mountain Cats will be heading to volleyball Districts in second place, behind Seeley-Swan. The Cats suffered a loss to Noxon and to Seeley-Swan during the season, ending 8-2. Seeley cut the Cats out of first place for Districts last year, as well.
“Sometimes we are our own worst enemy,” said head coach Toni Labbe. “We need to focus on serves received. That’s our hardest thing is getting good passes off a serve received and our unforced errors. I don’t feel like there’s a team we can’t play against. It’s our unforced errors and we are basically beating ourselves with those mistakes.”
Labbe feels the team is more confident going into Districts this year — having the experience of making it to Divisionals last year. “These guys are more mentally tough compared to last year,” she said.
On Friday, the team plays at 3:15 p.m. at Valley Christian in Missoula, where Districts are being held this year.
During the past few weeks the Cats beat Darby, 25-23, 25-22, 18-25 and 25-19 on Oct. 13. On Oct. 16,they beat St. Regis, 25-20, 25-14 and 25-12. During play the team had 16 kills, with Cat Sorren Reese with four. Madison Mask had all 12 of the team’s assists, and Emmah Baughman had the single team block. Out of 30 digs, Bailey Milender had eight and she also had four of the team’s 10 aces.
FOR THE St. Regis Lady Tigers, the team had 24 kills — led by Emma Hill with seven. Hill also led in digs, making 13 out of 44, and she had two of the teams four aces. Hill and Baylee Pruitt each had 11 of 22 assists. Chloe Cielke had all four of the team’s blocks.
St. Regis also played Noxon on Oct. 17 with the Lady Red Devils winning in a sweep — 25-21, 25-23 and 25-10. Hill had seven of the team’s 26 kills, one of two team blocks, and 12 out of 20 team assists. Kylee Thompson had the other block, and Pruitt had two of six aces, and 15 of 65 team digs.
ONLY TWO of the six teams competing in the District 14C Volleyball Tournament this Thursday and Friday at Hot Springs High School advance to the Western C Divisional Tournament in Manhattan next week.
Hot Springs goes into district as the No. 3 seed. The Lady Heat face St. Regis, the sixth seed, in the first round of the District tourney at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. In the other first-round match, No. 4 Plains takes on No. 5 Noxon in the opener at 11:45 a.m.
Top-seeded Charlo and No. 2 Arlee have first-round byes. Charlo plays the Plains-Noxon winner at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, and Arlee goes up against the Hot Springs-St. Regis victor at 5 p.m. The tournament proceeds to the championship match at 6 p.m. Friday. This is a true double-elimination tourney, with teams battling to stay alive in matches earlier Friday.
— Joe Sova contributed to this article.