BOZEMAN - The Lewistown Eagles repeated as Class A volleyball champions Saturday by beating a Miles City team that packed in nearly all the volleyball they could muster.
Arielle Allen had 13 kills and LeAnn Quinlan, who almost didn't play because of a hamstring injury, added 12 Saturday as the Eagles won their third title in six years by scores of 25-22, 20-25, 25-19, 26-24 at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
The Eagles graduated just one senior from last year's championship team, but early injuries this season helped limit the team to a 2-3 start. But the Eagles (23-3) wound up winning their final 20 matches of the season.
"It's been the goal of ours since the very beginning, since the end of last year," said Shandy Songer, who had eight kills and two blocks. "We just tried our best and worked together, and we pulled it off."
Miles City looked as if it would extend the match after leading game four 24-23, but a Cowgirls serving error evened the score. Lewistown's Cassie Byerly then served out the match with consecutive aces.
"One of their ultimate goals was to repeat as state champions, and they certainly put the time and the dedication in," Lewistown coach Tara Taylor said. "I'm just so proud of all the young ladies today."
Leah Berry had 18 digs, and Brinna Boettger had 13. Quinlan injured her hamstring in warmups, but after having her left leg taped, she made it to the floor for introductions and played the entire match.
"She said 'let me see if I can go,' and that's what we did," Taylor said. "She played through pain and played for her team."
The championship loss ended a nearly improbable run for the Cowgirls. They lost their first match of the tournament Thursday, then won three matches Friday and one more Saturday morning. Despite all that, the Cowgirls seemed fresh and energetic in the title match, but the Eagles had enough to hold them off.
"We're happy, but it could have been a little better," Miles City coach Ellen Jebens said. "Obviously, we're happy. We played a lot of games. They played hard, and they played well. We played them tough."
Kalli Durham led Miles City with 15 kills, and Tiffani Collins had 32 digs. Jessica Cremer had three aces, Rae Mader had four blocks, and Alexia Mader led with 35 assists.