BOZEMAN — Belgrade dominated Columbia Falls at the service line in a 25-12, 25-19, 25-20 win that ousted the Wildkats from the Class A state volleyball tournament Friday.
Columbia Falls (7-13) finished the tournament 0-2, but considering it was the Wildkats’ first state tournament appearance since 2003, coach Addy Connelly said it was a huge accomplishment for her team to reach the season ending event at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
The Wildkats finished the regular season fifth out of five teams in the Northwestern A conference, but won three straight loser-out matches at their divisional tournament to qualify for state.
“These girls have overcome a lot of people doubting them and I’m real proud that they’ve come as far as they have with the support that they’ve gathered from themselves,” Connelly said.
“It’s a huge feat to even get here. They haven’t been here since ’03. This group was pretty talented and I’m looking forward to coming back next year.”
Belgrade (24-2) served 18 aces in the victory.
“They’re a strong serving team and they took us out of our serve receive a little bit,” Connelly said.
Belgrade also took advantage of its 6-foot-1 and 6-0 blockers, tallying nine blocks against the shorter Wildkats.
“They have a big block with tall girls, so when you’re 5-7 in the middle it’s tough to get around those blocks sometimes,” Connelly said.
“The girls did well with what they were able to do.”
Kills – Belgrade 26 (Nikki Wass 6, Tanna Holliday 6), Columbia Falls 13 (Hope Burlage 4, Winter Kemppainen 3, Haley Belgrade 3). Assists – Belgrade 20 (Jorden Porter 10, Ali Weisz 8), Columbia Falls 9 (Alli Dierenfield 8). Aces – Belgrade 18 (Porter 5), Columbia Falls 0. Blocks – Belgrade 9 (Holliday 2.5, Taylor Woolman 2.5), Columbia Falls 5 (Burlage 2, Kemppainen 2). Digs – Belgrade 36 (Dylan Fowler 9), Columbia Falls 40 (Belgarde 11, Burlage 9).