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By Andi Bourne

Performance Outshines Record


October 19, 2017

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Eighth-grader Trista Paige Mackie-Wendel tips the ball over the net for a point against Frenchtown, Oct. 11.

SEELEY LAKE – The Seeley Lake Elementary girls volleyball season wrapped up at the Copper League Tournament in Frenchtown, Oct. 14. While the girls finished eighth in the league, Head Coach Angela Harris said the A Team's record is not a good reflection of how well they played and the skills they have on the court.

Harris said the season was a challenge since it started two weeks late. They jumped right into playing games giving them minimal practice. However, Harris said by the tournament the girls were fully capable of doing a full rotation with centers and effectively implementing the bump, set, spike.

"For the level that I would like them to be at, I think they did achieve that regardless of whether they won or lost," said Harris.

Friday before the tournament, two freshman and two sophomores from Seeley-Swan High School came down and practiced with the Eagles. They were impressed with how well the girls played against them and what great skills they have.

Despite continually trying to catch up, Harris said all of the girls met their personal goals for the season and she was extremely proud of them all. She also appreciated what Assistant Coach Jama Mauldin brought to the team and how well they worked together.

A Team – Eighth Grade

The Eagles were seated in last place before the tournament. Five eighth-graders and three seventh-graders played in the 10-team tournament. There were two games running simultaneously next to each other which added more distractions than the Eagles were used to.

They won their first game against Lolo. This momentum carried them into their second game against the number one team in the league, Hellgate Elementary.

Harris said the girls did well and "got really close." The second match, the Eagles came within five points of the top team.

"The entire season has been trying to prove to them how good they really are," said Harris. "I think they saw that when they were able to compete with the top team. When everything comes together they were able to see that they were just as good as everyone else."

This dropped them into the losers' bracket of the double elimination tournament. They faced Clinton who took them out of the tournament. This bumped them up two places where they finished eighth.

"It's a sad goodbye," said Harris who has had four of the five eighth-graders playing for her since the fifth grade. "Definitely going to miss them but hoping they continue to play and flourish in high school."

B Team – Seventh Grade

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Eighth-grader Trista Higgins gets under the ball in the A Team's game against Frenchtown, Oct. 11.

The B Team's only loss this season was to Drummond, Oct. 10. Harris felt it was a good for them to experience the competition that Drummond's B Team provided. It showed them that, while they did very well this season, when faced with a more experienced team, they needed to put all the concepts together and execute it as a team.

They learned rotation before their last game against Frenchtown Oct. 11 and "implemented and executed the entire way," said Harris. "We are excited for their eighth grade season coming up next year."

C Team – Fifth & Sixth Grade

The C Team didn't get a lot of playing time because many of the schools don't have a C Team. This was the first year playing volleyball for four of the five players.

"I feel like they have all made huge improvements," said Harris. "They really stepped up and went for the ball and improved their serving. Almost everyone has been able to get the ball over the net."


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