Another day, another brawl.
To hear Patrick Hiller talk about it, you'd think his C.M. Russell volleyball team was actually going into these post-season tournaments and starting Pier Six brawls.
Nothing could be farther from the truth, of course. But when the coach leaves a volleyball match feeling like he himself is leaving everything on the floor, you know it must have been one heckuva match.
The Lady Rustlers needed four sets to emerge victorious over Billings West Saturday afternoon, winning the Eastern AA Tournament at Billings West High School.
Their record now stands at 27-0 following their 27-25, 22-25, 25-21, and 25-19 win over the Lady Bears, who will join the Rustlers at the All-Class State Tournament starting Thursday at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman.
Joining CMR and West will be Bozeman High and Billings Senior, who finished third and fourth, respectively.
CMR will face Butte High, the No. 4 team in the West, Thursday at 2 p.m., with the winner taking on the winner of Flathead and Bozeman that evening at 8. The undefeated semifinal is at 6 p.m. Friday, and the chipper is Saturday at noon.
"Another brawl today," Hiller said in a text message. "We still got it done, but it took everything."
The numbers on the divisional title match are almost gaudy, like that of a five-set match: 58 kills, 54 assists, 75 digs, 11 blocks and four aces … just for the Lady Rustlers. West's totals are 59 kills, 54 assists, 88 digs, a dozen blocks and five aces. There was a rumor that there were two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree floating out there, but we haven't confirmed that yet.
But it does sound like a "Katie-bar-the-door" match.
"It was a great match with a ton of swings in momentum," Hiller said in the text. "Our girls gutted it out. I was impressed that they were able to stay calm in a match that had some different challenges they had to endure.
"I'm hoping the weekend provided exactly the preparation we needed to get ready for state."
Lauren Lindseth and Ella Cochran combined on 47 of those 58 kills (Lolo led the way with a season-high 25), Tennisen Hiller added 49 assists, and Lindseth added 27 digs and a pair of aces. Lexi Thornton blocked six shots for CMR.
For West, who will face Kalispell Glacier at noon Thursday, Sydney Pierce had 22 kills and four blocks, while Kaitlin Grossman had 31 digs and 18 kills.
This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: Montana high school volleyball: Lady Rustlers now 27-0