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Libby volleyball squad playing for 'all the marbles'

by Brad Fuqua & Western News
| November 13, 2008 11:00 PM

Even though the Libby High School volleyball squad is still a step away from the Class A state tournament, the girls will be playing for all the marbles on Friday and Saturday at divisionals.

Literally.

“Quite a few years ago, I got an idea from the University of Montana when Colleen Frohlich was an assistant coach,” LHS coach Cindy Ostrem-Johnston said. “I talked to her one time and asked, ‘how do you get kids to play a divisional or state tournament like they do during the regular season?’ She said, ‘we play for all the marbles all the time. Every game is a big game.’”

And that’s the mentality that the Lady Loggers have each time they take the court. In fact, Genesea Meha’s mother made marble bags for the girls.

“So, when we get to these big games, we’re playing for all the marbles,” Ostrem-Johnston said. “Hopefully, we can hang on to that going into the tournament. It seems to be working.”

Libby earned a big marble this past weekend when closing out the regular season on Senior Night with a three-game sweep over Ronan. The Loggers finished conference play with a 9-1 record for the No. 1 seed heading into the tournament at Polson. The action got under way on Thursday but Libby received a bye and will not take to the court until Friday.

“There’s going to be some tough competition there,” said Meha, one of the seniors honored last weekend. “We can’t be thinking that we’re just going to walk in there and win it.”

Another senior, Nichole Newman, said the team has come a long way this season.

“We’ve been all right in the tournaments but we can do better,” said Newman, who has played all four years. “Last year, we lost a lot of seniors and we were starting over with a new team this year. We just need to go out there and play hard.”

The Lady Loggers will open the tournament with a match at 11 a.m. Friday against either Columbia Falls or Whitefish. Those two schools will square off on Thursday and the winner gets Libby.

Bigfork enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed and will also receive a bye past Thursday’s action. Bigfork is responsible for the only blemish on the Lady Loggers’ conference record.

“You have to give them a lot of respect,” Ostrem-Johnston said. “Polson is right behind them. You have to respect every team because it can be a whole different ballgame.”

The players do not seem overconfident just because of their success within the region. In fact, they acknowledge the bulls-eye on their backs.

“We’re confident but all of our matches have been close,” junior Jackie Mee said. “I feel like it’s going to be a dogfight the whole way. We just need to overcome some things and work on staying up here instead of falling on our backs.”

Libby is trying for its second straight divisional title. The top two teams will advance to the state tournament, which will be played under a true double-elimination format. The championship match is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday. If a second championship match is needed, it would follow at 7 p.m.