The Flathead Bravettes are headed to state.
By defeating Glacier 25-18, 25-19, 26-24 at home on Thursday in a Western AA playoff match, the Bravettes advance to the tournament for the first time since 2015.
“Pretty awesome,” Flathead coach Nicole Fairclough said. “I knew it was going to be a hard-fought match and it was. It was amazing to get it done in three games. I knew the girls were really prepared and they wanted it, so it was great to see they got it done.”
The Bravettes, the third seed in Western AA, will play Bozeman, the second seed in Eastern AA, on Nov. 8 at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman. The Class AA tournament runs Nov. 8-10.
“We played Bozeman way back early in September and we’re definitely a different team and they’re gonna be a different team,” Fairclough said. “But just getting ready and fine-tuning everything on our side will be our game plan for next week.”
This crosstown battle was just as thrilling as the first two matches these teams played this season.
In the first set, Flathead flew out to a 4-1 lead early and went on a 6-0 run to win that game. Glacier roared to a 5-0 lead in the second set, but Flathead rallied to win that one, too. Flathead nearly let the third slip away, falling behind by as many as five points and trailing 22-24 before going on a 4-0 run that sealed the 26-24 win.
“Crazy end of the third game, that’s for sure,” Fairclough said.
A well-placed block by Julia Burden and Hannah O’Dell punctuated the final point as the gym erupted in cheers.
“They’re a pretty strong unit, all six out on that court,” Fairclough said. “They just took care of the ball. Julia Burden on the outside had a lot of great swings. Hannah O’Dell and Jaylyn (Fitch) had some huge blocks for us that were pretty momentum shifting. Same with Taylor (Henley), Madde Boles. I thought our defense was great tonight.”
Burden made 11 kills, had two blocks, and O’Dell had five of 10 total blocks.
Mayson Moore served five aces. Fairclough was impressed by Moore, and with how well Flathead served against Glacier.
“I think we served really, really tough tonight, which is huge cause it forced them out of their system a lot and allowed us to get a little bit more set up on them,” she said. “They definitely pressured us on serve receive and we had a little bit of a challenge at times.”
Glacier’s Kaylee Fritz recorded 24 set assists and two service aces. Kali Gulick made 10 kills and five blocks and Kacey Hill chipped in with 15 digs and two aces.
Assists – Glacier 24 (Kaylee Fritz 24), Flathead 34 (Sierra Wilhelm 29); Kills – Glacier 27 (Kali Gulick 10, Aubrie Rademacher 9), Flathead 35 (Julia Burden 11); Digs – Glacier 44 (Kacey Hill 15, Maddie Johnson 13); Blocks – Glacier 7 (K. Gulick 5), Flathead 10 (Hannah O’Dell 5); Aces – Glacier 6 (Fritz 2, Hill 2), Flathead 6 (Mayson Moore 5)