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Western teams look to drag down Blue Devils

September 4, 2014
Northwest Montana A Conference

Western teams look to drag down Blue Devils

Class A volleyball schedules

Northwestern A

Nov. 7-8 Divisional, Libby

Nov. 13-15 State, Bozeman

Columbia Falls

Aug. 30 Corvallis

and Hamilton

Sept. 5-6 at Frenchtown tourney

Sept. 11 Libby

Sept. 13 at Anaconda tourney, 10 a.m.

Sept. 18 Stillwater Christian

Sept. 20 at Polson, 4 p.m.

Sept. 25 Frenchtown

Sept. 27 at Whitefish, 4 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Hamilton, 10 a.m.

and at Corvallis, 3 p.m.

Oct. 10-11 Missoula Invitational, TBA

Oct. 16 at Libby

Oct. 18 at Frenchtown, 4 p.m.

Oct. 23 Polson

Nov. 1 Whitefish, 4 p.m.

*All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


Sept. 5-6 Frenchtown Tip Off Tourney

Sept. 11 at Polson

Sept. 18 at Whitefish

Sept. 20 Hellgate, 4 p.m.

Sept. 23 Thompson Falls

Sept. 25 at Columbia Falls

Sept. 27 Libby, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 30 at Stevensville

Oct. 10-11 at MCPS Invitational, 9 a.m.

Oct. 14 Polson, 4 p.m.

Oct. 18 Columbia Falls, 4 p.m.

Oct. 21 at Loyola

Oct. 23 at Florence

Oct. 25 at Libby

Oct. 28 Butte Central

Oct. 30 Whitefish

Nov. 6-8 Divisionals (at Libby)

*All games at 6:45 p.m. unless noted


Sept. 2 at Troy

Sept. 5-6 at Frenchtown Tip Off Tourney

Sept. 11 at Columbia Falls

Sept. 13 at Whitefish, 4 p.m.

Sept. 16 Troy

Sept. 20 at Bonners Ferry Tourney 10 a.m.

Sept. 26 at Polson

Sept. 27 at Frenchtown, 2 p.m.

Sept. 30 Eureka, 6 p.m.

Oct. 10-11 at MCPS Invitational, 9 a.m.

Oct. 14 at Thompson Falls

Oct. 16 Columbia Falls

Oct. 21 at Whitefish

Oct. 25 Frenchtown, 4 p.m.

Nov. 1 Polson, 4 p.m.

Nov. 6-8 Divisionals (at Libby)

*All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


Sept. 5-6 at Frenchtown Tourney

Sept. 9 at Thompson Falls

Sept. 11 Frenchtown

Sept. 13 at Anaconda Tourney

Sept. 20 Columbia Falls, 4 p.m.

Sept. 25 at Whitefish

Sept. 26 Libby

Oct. 2 Loyola

Oct. 4 at Stevensville, 4 p.m.

Oct. 10-11 at MCPS Invitational, 9 a.m.

Oct. 14 at Frenchtown

Oct. 16 Whitefish

Oct. 23 at Columbia Falls

Oct. 25 Dillon, 4 p.m.

Oct. 30 Stevensville

Nov. 1 at Libby, 4 p.m.

Nov. 6-8 Divisionals (at Libby)

*All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


Aug. 30 Hamilton, 1 p.m.

Aug. 30 Corvallis, 6 p.m.

Sept. 5-6 at Frenchtown Tourney

Sept. 13 at Libby, 4 p.m.

Sept. 18 Frenchtown

Sept. 20 at Bonners Ferry Tourney 10 a.m.

Sept. 25 Polson

Sept. 27 Columbia Falls, 4 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Hamilton, 6 p.m.

Oct. 10-11 at MCPS Invitational, 9 a.m.

Oct. 16 at Polson

Oct. 21 Libby

Oct. 23 Anaconda

Oct. 30 at Columbia Falls

*All games at 7 p.m. unless noted

Southwestern A

Nov. 6-8 Divisional, Anaconda

Nov. 13-15 State, Bozeman


Aug. 30 vs. Hamilton, 3 p.m.

at Whitefish tourney

Sept. 5 at Frenchtown tourney, TBA

Sept. 6 at Frenchtown tourney, TBA

Sept. 11 at Anaconda

Sept. 13 at Anaconda tourney, TBA

Sept. 18 Dillon, 6:30

Sept. 23 at Stevensville

Sept. 27 Butte Central, 4 p.m.

Oct. 4 Whitefish, 1 p.m.

Oct. 4 Columbia Falls, 6 p.m.

Oct. 7 Hamilton

Oct. 9 Anaconda

Oct. 17 at Butte Central

Oct. 18 at Butte C. tourney, 9 a.m.

Oct. 23 Stevensville

Oct. 30 at Dillon, 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 1 at Hamilton, 4 p.m.


Aug. 30 at Whitefish, 1 p.m.

Aug. 30 at Columbia Falls, 3 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Dillon, 4 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Butte Central, 4 p.m.

Sept. 27 Anaconda, 4 p.m.

Sept. 30 at Florence

Oct. 4 Columbia Falls, 1 p.m.

Oct. 4 Whitefish, 6 p.m.

Oct. 7 Corvallis

Oct. 9 at Stevensville

Oct. 11 Butte Central, 4 p.m.

Oct. 16 Dillon, 6 p.m.

Oct. 21 Florence

Oct. 25 Stevensville, 4 p.m.

Oct. 30 at Anaconda

Nov. 1 at Corvallis, 4 p.m.

*All games at 7 p.m. unless noted


Sept. 5-6 at Frenchtown tourney

Sept. 9 at Anaconda

Sept. 13 Anaconda tourney, 10 a.m.

Sept. 16 at Loyola, 5 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Dillon, 4 p.m.

Sept. 23 Covallis

Sept. 25 at Butte Central

Sept. 30 Frenchtown

Oct. 4 Polson, 4 p.m.

Oct. 9 at Hamilton

Oct. 11 Dillon

Oct. 14 Butte Central

Oct. 18 at Butte C. tourney, 9 a.m.

Oct. 23 at Corvallis

Oct. 25 Hamilton, 4 p.m.

Oct. 30 at Polson

Nov. 1 Anaconda, 4 p.m.

A 21-0 mark and a state championship from 2013 left Corvallis at the top of the Class A volleyball mountain, and the Blue Devils certainly like the view from the Bitterroot range.

The bad news is there’s no way to go up from there, and Frenchtown, Libby and Hamilton will be trying to drag them down.

“Those seasons don’t come around too often,” said sixth-year Corvallis coach Kasey Arceniega, who returns just one starter – but six letter-winners – from that 21-0 club. “We were undefeated, and I’m thankful for that and that good memory, and it’s kind of tough to top.“

The goal is to repeat, but it will be tough for the Blue Devils. In fact getting out of a tough divisional will be task enough.

Southwestern A

Kelsey Irwin is the top returnee for Corvallis, a two-time all-conference outside hitter who will be an offensive cornerstone for a third straight year.

Joining the 5-foot-11 senior up front is 6-2 senior Jane Booth, a relative newcomer to volleyball who began last year on the junior varsity but became a force at the net by the end.

Corvallis graduated its two setters from last year – Alex Price and Laura Berner – leaving Holly Wilson to set up a 5-1 offense. Hannah Capko is a 5-10 hitter who’s ready to step to the varsity net as a junior.

“We’re looking to build something different because it’s clearly a different team,” Arceniega said. “This year we’re lacking in varsity experience, so we’re working on communication and playing together.“

Arceniega points at Hamilton as a top threat, led by outside hitters Shannon Casale, a junior, and Jaylee Albert, a senior. Both stand 5-9; standing taller is setter Makayla Horvath, a 5-10 senior.

Casale, Arceniega, “is a tenacious all-around player and specifically an outstanding defender.“

Stevensville is counting on a pair of senior starters, outside hitter Megan Finley and Carly Vercruyssen, to help the Yellowjackets improve on last year’s 5-11 mark.

Dillon figures to build on an 11-11 season that included a trip to state under second-year coach Angela Racicot, a Frenchtown product. There are three senior leaders: outside hitter Cierra Lamey, middle blocker Taylor Chase and setter Holly Anderson.

If Alex Rouse, who underwent to ACL surgeries last year, returns to form the Beavers will be tough.

Butte Central has every starter back from last year, though the Maroons went 0-18. Lacey McGree and Sierra Pica, both juniors, each stand 5-9.

Anaconda lost a lot of senior talent off a team that was second in the regular season. The top threats at the net are junior Kassandra Flores and senior Khali Knadler.

All of these teams could challenge Corvallis, or the Blue Devils could keep rolling.

“We have the same goals, we’re just going to go about it a little differently,” Arceniega said. “The skill set is there; they just don’t have the experience of playing with each other.”

Northwestern A

If Frenchtown perhaps snuck up on opponents in 2012 with a second-place finish at state, the Broncs were a known commodity last year when then went 17-7 and advanced to state.

Three starters are back, including all-state middle hitter Morgan Ray and setter Haley Cyr. Third-year coach Gypsy Ray also hopes for big things from senior outside hitter Lacey Hochhalter and 6-1 senior right side hitter Faith Bauer.

Every player on the Frenchtown roster is a senior, which might remind some of Corvallis’ 2013 team.

“We all think about Corvallis last year,” allowed Ray. “Our goal, as it has been the last two seasons, is to bring home a state championship. That’s the ultimate goal, and then we have lot of goals between here and there.”

Ray expects the biggest in-conference challenge could be from Libby, which went 8-12 last year but returns five starters and seven seniors.

The list includes outside hitter Hailey Craig, who missed last season with a knee injury. Hannah England will set the Logger offense for a fourth season.

“I think Libby’s really going to bring it this year,” said Ray. “They’ve been quiet and steady and building from a young team into a much more seasoned team.”

Whitefish is looking for a bounce back year (four wins in 2013) with four returning starters, including middle hitters Myndi Holbrook and Rachael Seymour and outside hitter Maura Kalbfleisch. Fourth-year coach Sarah Scott is hoping for a stronger offensive attack with junior Allie Schulz setting the tempo.

Columbia Falls always seems to have height and talent, and the Wildkats had a 2-1 lead on Corvallis last week before falling in five sets. Ciera Finberg and Winter Kemppainen are forces in the middle alongside outside hitter Carla Nicosia.

Polson won nine matches last year and had an all-state performer in Jaiden Toth.

Many of these teams will get early-season tests at the Frenchtown Tip-Off Tournament Friday and Saturday. Ray will have an eye on Toth and the rest, knowing any team might pull off what the Broncs did in 2012 – win two league matches and then catch fire.

It’s a memory worth savoring, and Ray harkens back to how loose that group played as her Broncs head into the 2014 seasons.

“Most importantly we want to have fun,” she said. “We do our best when we have fun. We have volleyball skill, but we do our best as a team when we’re having fun.”

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