The Lady Coyotes celebrate a big point scored against the Fairfield Eagles at the Northern B Divisional Tournament in Malta. The Shelby girls downed Fairfield in Friday night’s semi-final, then again in the championship game on Saturday. Pictured, left to right are Reese Whitted, Lexi Robison, Brook Luly, Brittany Brusven and Skyler Martin.

Photo by Pierre Bibbs/Phillips County News

The Shelby Coyotes volleyball team captured the Northern Divisional title last weekend in Malta. This is the first title for the volleyball team since 2006 when they went on to claim fourth place at the state tournament. The Coyotes defeated Glasgow, Choteau, and Fairfield twice to earn their trip to the All Class State Tournament at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman, Nov. 9-11. 

“The theme of the week was to go to Malta on a business trip and work hard while we were there. That theme paid off. It was nice to see this team hoist a trophy. Hopefully, that will carry over into the state tournament,” said coach Ron Buck. The Lady Yotes will take on Joliet, the third seed from the Southern Division, in their opener on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. “Joliet is very scrappy, and they have some good hitters,” said Buck.

In last weekend’s action, Shelby faced Glasgow in their first match and dispatched the Scotties, 28-26, 25-21, and 25-21. Sydnee Salveson led the Coyotes with 7 aces, 11 kills and 2 blocks. Skyler Martin had 13 digs and 16 assists.

Shelby met their perennial district rival, the Choteau Bulldogs, in their second match and needed all five sets to earn their first win against Choteau this season. Shelby took the first set, 25-17, and then lost the second one, 16-25. The third set belonged to the Lady Yotes, 25-21, but Choteau came back in the fourth set to take the win, 25-23. The fifth set was all Shelby, however, as they went on to win the set and match, 15-6. Salveson again led the team in kills and blocks with 13 and 3, respectively. Teammate Brittany Brusven hustled for 30 assists and connected on four aces. Martin led the team with 25 digs. 

Shelby advanced to the championship match with Fairfield where they won the match in four sets. Shelby took the first match in convincing fashion 25-14. Fairfield bounced back to take the second one, 25-20. Shelby captured the final two sets, 25-17, 25-17. Martin led the team in kills with 8 and digs with 16. Lexi Robison came up big with five aces, while Brusven tallied 19 assists. Salveson had four 4 blocks in the match.

 “The upper classmen had an incredible tournament. Sydnee led in kills in the Glasgow and Choteau matches. Lexi was a wall at the net with 10 blocks on the weekend. Brittany just did what she always does whether that was setting the ball or igniting us with a kill. And, Skyler played out of her mind defensively. It seemed like the ordinary shots that hit the floor were all dug by her. It was some of the best volleyball I’ve seen Shelby play in a while,” praised Buck.

 “I am just so proud of this group of girls. They came off of a tough weekend at the district tournament, and it would have been easy to just show up and play in Malta without heart and desire. Last Monday, we thought we were playing Wolf Point, but then the news came out that it would be Glasgow instead, and the girls really had a mindset of proving something to themselves about how talented they truly are,” he concluded.

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