MANHATTAN — For just the second time since it began in 2012, Manhattan’s volleyball team won their season-opening quad.
The Tigers went 2-1 in pool play a the Manhattan Fall - Quad Volleyball Invitational Tournament and then beat Belgrade’s JV and Jefferson in bracket play en route to claiming the championship.
“I think it was a total team effort,” second-year coach Charli Chapman said. “Everybody played a part. We have good balance.”
Coming off an 9-12 campaign, which included reaching the Southern B Divisional, Manhattan is fielding a fairly new team this fall after five seniors were lost to graduation.
But the Tigers dropped just two sets on the day — both to District 5B rival Jefferson — en route to winning the title.
“Girls played in various positions and we got a good look at areas to improve and areas of strength,” Chapman said. “This group is very versatile and are very good at making changes as we go.”
Manhattan began the tournament with a 20-9, 20-11 victory against Belgrade’s JV. The lone loss came against Jefferson, 11-20, 20-16, 16-20, and then the Tigers bounced back to beat Whitehall 20-11, 20-9 to close out pool play.
In bracket play, Manhattan beat Belgrade’s JV 25-11, and then held off Jefferson in the title match 25-21.
“We had some adjustments this morning, which is expected in this preseason setting,” said Chapman. “We went in knowing we were going to try some different rotations. We ran some 6-2 and 5-1 options.”
Senior middle hitter Erika Davis led the Tigers on the day with 21 kills and six blocks, while sophomore Olivia Westervelt had 15 kills and 15 digs.
Seniors Casey Elfland and Amy Grevious each saw action at libero — they combined for 37 digs — and Grevious added 11 kills and eight aces.
Sophomore setter Cayli Chapman posted team highs in assists (35) and aces (13) and added 13 digs and 11 kills in a well-rounded effort. Kaitlin Kanuch chipped in with eight kills and five digs.
“Finished the day strong,” coach Chapman said. “It was a good start to our season. Looking ahead Three Forks on Thursday.”
Manhattan will begin conference play Thursday at Three Forks. The contest was originally scheduled to be held in Manhattan, but switched to Three Forks. The teams will meet again in Manhattan on Oct. 3.
Belgrade’s JV finished 1-2 in pool play following the tournament-opening loss to Manhattan. The Panthers bounced back to beat Whitehall 20-18, 20-16 and then lost to Jefferson 20-10, 20-9 to cap pool play.
Like Manhattan, it was the first action of the season for the Panthers, who are beginning their first campaign as a Class AA program this fall.
“I thought our play improved as the day went on,” Belgrade JV coach Sarah Fowler said. “We struggled at times keeping the ball in bounds, but overall had a good day. It was great getting to play instead of just practicing.”
Manhattan Fall - Quad Volleyball Invitational
(at Manhattan High School, Saturday)
Pool Play Results
Manhattan def. Belgrade JV 20-9, 20-11.
Jefferson def. Whitehall 20-15, 17-20, 20-5.
Jefferson def. Manhattan 20-11, 16-20, 20-16.
Belgrade JV def. Whitehall 20-18, 20-16.
Manhattan def. Whitehall 20-11, 20-9.
Jefferson def. Belgrade JV 20-10, 20-9.
Bracket Play Results
Jefferson def. Whitehall 25-23.
Manhattan def. Belgrade JV 25-11.
Manhattan def. Jefferson 25-21, championship.