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Charlo volleyball team earns district championship

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NOXON – The Charlo High School Lady Vikings are the 2019 14C district girls volleyball champions with an overall record of 15-1. They defeated the Hot Springs Lady Savage Heat in back-to-back matches for the district title on Friday night during the 14C District Volleyball Tournament held in Noxon. 

It was the first district championship since 2014 for the Lady Vikings and the first district title under second-year Charlo head coach Rhondell Volinkaty.

The Lady Vikings opened the tournament on Thursday evening with a 25-18, 25-23, 25-12 win over the Lady Red Devils. Leading the Charlo offense were Kassidi Cox with nine aces and Carlee Fryberger with 12 kills. Both Carlee Fryberger and Connor Fryberger had 25 digs on the night for the Lady Vikings. On Friday morning, Charlo fell in four sets 26-28, 22-25, 25-20, 19-25 to the Hot Springs Lady Savage Heat. 

Against Hot Springs, Destiny Manuel had 27 digs, Bella Hawk floored five aces and Kira McPhail had five block shots. The loss propelled Charlo into a match Friday afternoon against Noxon to decide the third-place winner. The winner would get another shot against Hot Springs for the district championship. 

Against Noxon, Connor Fryberger had 26 assists, and Manuel had 31 assists for Charlo as the Lady Vikings escaped tournament elimination with a 25-21, 25-13, 25-21 win. “We started off really slow,” said Volinkaty. “First game jitters and cobwebs finally fell off against Noxon and we were back to our normal game.”

Charlo needed to beat Hot Springs twice to claim the district title and a number one seed ranking into the Western C Divisional tournament. The first match was all Lady Vikings. Charlo swept Hot Springs in three-sets 25-22, 25-14, 26-24 forcing a second, winner-takes-all match. Before heading into the second match, Volinkaty said she had huddled her players together. “I told the girls they had to come together as a family and be trusting of each other in order to win. That’s the only way we will ever overcome adversity and loss.”

The second match was a classic see-saw battle that saw Hot Springs win the first set 25-12, Charlo took the second set 25-22, then Hot Springs picked up a 25-23 win in the third and the Lady Vikings captured the final two sets 25-9 and 15-11.

“I think my girls showed heart and determination to come back from an early loss and play through exhaustion to beat a team twice to become the champions,” said Volinkaty.

The Lady Vikings will face Gardiner, the second seed out of District 11C, in the first round of the Western C Divisional volleyball tournament at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Manhattan Christian High School in Church Hill. The top two teams from the Western C tournament will move on to the State Class C Volleyball Tournament in Bozeman the following weekend.

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