Shelby’s Brogan McAllister tips the ball over the net during opening weekend volleyball action in Choteau.

The Shelby Lady Coyotes volleyball team opened the season at the Choteau Invitational tournament, finishing in fourth place. The tourney format was all matches were two sets to 21, with a cap at 21, until the championship round which was best 2-out-of-3, playing to 25.

The Coyotes started round one of the weekend defeating Ennis 21-20 and 21-14. The Coyotes then moved on to Bigfork, and defeated them 21-14 and 21-12. Next up for the Coyotes was Wolf Point, and they dispatched them 21-16 in both games. The fourth match of the round saw the Coyotes split with Broadwater, 21-19 and 16-21.

The Lady Coyotes were reseeded for round two in the top bracket, allowing the Coyotes the opportunity to play the top teams in the tournament. They opened the round facing Broadwater once again, and split with them 21-13 and 12-21. 

Next up was Florence-Carlton, a team that was defeated in the champions-hip game in last year’s state B tournament. The Lady Coyotes had a tough battle, but came out on top 21-20 and 21-19. 

The final match of the first night Shelby played a tough Manhattan Christian team, and defeated them 21-15 and 21-11. 

Saturday morning the Coyotes finished round two defeating Thompson Falls 21-18 in both games.

Teams were reseeded for round three, and the Lady Coyotes drew host team Choteau, and lost 18-21 and 10-21. They bounced back and split with Simms, 21-11 and 17-21. Shelby then fell in another tough battle to Florence, 20-21 and 19-21. 

In match four of the round the Coyotes tied with Glasgow, 21-19 and 19-21. This forced a three-point sudden death tiebreaker, and the Coyotes grabbed the victory 3-1. The win placed the Lady Coyotes into the third and  fourth place match, with Manhattan Christian. 

Head coach Jessica Brusven said Manhattan Christian had a definite height advantage and did a great job at the net. “I was very proud of girls. A fourth place finish at that tournament is a great accomplishment.”

Coach Brusven continued, “We played a lot of great games and a lot of really good teams.  The girls really stepped up, played well together, and made some great improvements.  We have several things to work on before next weekend’s tournament in Chinook. It was a great team effort throughout the tournament, the girls played hard.  The setters did a great job moving the sets around, giving several girls the opportunity to swing and attack the ball.”

The Lady Coyotes will competing at the Chinook Invitational this weekend.

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