Joliet volleyball rides momentum to State

By: 
CHRIS MCCONNELL
Outlook staff writer

Before the 2017 volleyball season began, J-Hawk head coach Colette Weber said her young team (with only two returning starters) was perceived as being in a building year, but she was confident that the skill level of her team would surprise people.
Weber had said the “group of freshman and sophomore starters have played together since the fifth grade,” adding that their early season goals were to improve throughout the season and “get out of districts.”
Now, after taking second at Districts and third at Divisionals, the J-Hawks are off to State, having long since shed the perception of the team in an underdog role.
After Joliet fell to the Huntley Project in the championship match in the 4B District tournament in Huntley on Oct. 29, the J-Hawks traveled south to Red Lodge and faced Forsyth in the opening round game of the Southern B Divisional last Thursday. They defeated the Dogies in five games 23-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-7 after falling behind 0-2.
Then Three Forks defeated Joliet in three games 11-25, 23-25, 22-25.
Webber said she was proud of how the team fought in stressful situations.
“They played tight at times but they are young and that will happen. It was a battle to get to go to State.”
Joliet then defeated Colstrip in a loser-out match in five games 18-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25-20, 15-8 to assure no worse than a fourth place finish and a berth in the State tournament.
The J-Hawks downed Jefferson in three games on Friday evening 25-21, 25-23, 24-26 to set up the semi-final match against Three Forks on Saturday. The J-Hawks fell to the Wolves for the second time to take third place and earn a #3 seed at the State B Tournament in Bozeman starting today.
Joliet faces Shelby at 2 p.m. at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on the Montana State University campus. The Coyotes won the Northern B Divisional Tournament, defeating Fairfield in four games.
Webber said if the J-Hawks play focused and fearless “they will be awesome. We feel very blessed for this opportunity.  I hope they take it all in and play to their potential.”

Nov. 2
Joliet vs. Forsyth
23-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-7
Kills 59 (Makenna Bushman 21, Vanessa Nowak 16). Assists 55 (Joelle Luoma 26, Shayla Webber 25). Aces 14 (Nowak 5). Digs 102 (Webber 26, Bushman 22). Blocks 9 (Bushman 4).
Joliet vs. Three Forks
11-25, 23-35, 22-25
Kills 22 (Bushman 10). Assists 22 (Webber 15). Aces 4 (four players with 1). Digs 59 (Webber 15). Blocks 6 (Tayler Wright 2.5).

Nov. 3
Joliet vs. Colstrip
18-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25-20, 15-8
Kills 63 (Bushman 24, Webber 11, Luoma 11). Assists 60 (Webber 30, Luoma 25). Aces 7 (Nowak 3). Digs 130 (Luoma 27, Merrin Schwend 26). Blocks 6 (Bushman 2.5).
Joliet vs. Jefferson
25-21, 25-23, 24-26
Kills 53 (Bushman 22). Assists 51 (Webber 29, Luoma 19). Aces 5 (Webber 2). Digs 86 (Schwend 27). Blocks 3 (Nowak 1.5).

Nov. 4
Joliet vs. Three Forks
22-25, 19-25, 25-15, 22-25
Kills 54 (Bushman 15, Nowak 14). Assists 50 (Webber 23, Luoma 21). Aces 5 (Webber 2, Bushman 2). Digs 101 (Webber 22, Bushman 21). Blocks 3 (Bushman 1, Nowak 1).

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