It was a daunting task.

Following a crushing five-set first round loss to Baker Thursday afternoon at the Southern B Divisional, Three Forks needed to win three straight matches Friday to keep its hopes alive of reaching next week’s state tournament alive.

The uphill challenge featured a pair of District 5B rivals and the Wolves got off to a strong start with a 25-21, 25-19, 25-19 sweep of Manhattan. But Jefferson County posted a 25-14, 22-25, 25-21, 25-14 victory to halt their season.

“I was so very proud of these kids today. They never gave up,” said Three Forks coach Tracy Welter. “We came out swinging and our defense was spectacular. We made so many incredible plays out of the net and deep court plays.”

Erin Welter led Three Forks (11-11) with 17 kills and 22 digs on the day, while Paeton Ohs had nine kills against Jefferson. Kyle Olson dished out a combined 50 assists and had 34 digs.

“I am so thankful and proud of our seniors,” said coach Welter. “Paeton and Kyle, they were the glue that held us together.”

Tigers’ season ends with loss to rival

Overall it was an improvement from Thursday’s first round loss to defending state champion Huntley Project in the Southern B Divisional opener.

Manhattan, which scored just 22 total points in three sets, was competitive throughout Friday’s loser-out match against longtime rival Three Forks. But ultimately mistakes cost the Tigers.

“They played great defense and serve-receive, super scrappy,” first-year Tigers coach Charli Chapman said. “We blocked better than we did yesterday, our defense was stronger, but offensively we struggled big.”

Three Forks capitalized on those struggles to rally for a first set victory and then went on to post a 25-21, 25-19, 25-19 victory.

“We started off slow, down 9-2 in the first set. Made too many unforced errors,” Chapman explained. “We led for most of set two but ended up giving up the lead on a Kyle Olson service run. We were up 18-16 and she served to 24.”

Manhattan had its moments over the next two sets, but was unable to overcome its own mistakes.

“Third set was back and forth. We just kept making unforced errors. Twenty-seven attack errors to our 18 kills,” said Chapman. “You can’t win matches with those numbers.”

Emma Wass led the Tigers with nine kills, while fellow senior Matilda Dietz had 17 digs. Cayli Chapman chipped in with eight digs and five assists.

Manhattan finishes the season with a 9-12 record and loses five seniors to graduation, including Dietz and Wass.

Three Forks def. Manhattan 25-21, 25-19, 25-19.

MANHATTAN (9-12) - Kills: 18 (Emma Wass 9). Digs: 67 (Matilda Dietz 17, Cayli Chapman 8). Blocks: 10 (Erika Davis 7). Aces: 2 (Casey Elfland 1, Hope Slater 1). Assists: 17 (Elfland 11).

THREE FORKS (11-10) - Kills: 27 (Erin Welter 8, Keaton Lynn 6). Digs: 61 (Kyle Olson 16, Macey Combs 13). Blocks: 1 (Kirstin Klompien 1). Aces: 6 (Olson 2, Welter 2). Assists: 24 (Olson 24).

Jefferson def. Three Forks 25-14, 22-25, 25-21, 25-14.

THREE FORKS (11-11) - Kills: 32 (Paeton Ohs 9, Erin Welter 9). Digs: 91 (Ohs 20, Macey Combs 18, Kyle Olson 18). Blocks: 7 (Keaton Lynn 4). Aces: 3 (Combs 3). Assists: 27 (Olson 26).

JEFFERSON (19-2) – Stats not provided.