Bozeman hold heads high through bittersweet state volleyball tournament

BOZEMAN – Sometimes things just don’t go your way.

Over the weekend, Bozeman played Helena Capital in the Class AA volleyball state championship game. But when all was said and done, it was the Bruins hoisting the trophy. The Hawks were runner-ups, but they left that day with an incredible attitude.

“Unforgettable. It was pretty awesome to come together and just with a whole bunch of girls that have not had much state experience and get second place,” said senior libero Ayla Embry.

Bozeman won the state title back in 2015, but this was one of the first times in program history that the Hawks lost on the first day and fought back to play in Saturday’s final.

“There’s absolutely no regrets from that match. I mean, we gave them such a fight, and at times when it looked like it was definitely going their way, my girls came back and they made them work for that first place,” said Ashley Obstar, Bozeman’s head coach.

On Tuesday, that hard work paid off for Bozeman’s two seniors, Embry and Mara Lynch. They were both given first-team all-conference honors.

“Let’s just say that they are two of the best players in their position in the entire state,” said Obstar when speaking about Embry and Lynch. “I have a lot of experience, but the seniors I’m losing are huge roles for our team. So we are definitely going to be developing our younger girls to try to replace two of the best players that have come through Bozeman High.”

Saturday may have not produced the fairytale ending that so many in Brick Breeden Fieldhouse wanted to see, but the season ended in an incredible show of sportsmanship, with the Hawks congratulating the many friends they had on the other side of the net

“Although we didn’t get first it might be a silly word, but perfect. It’s exactly what I had wanted minus the second place,” smiled Obstar.

They say the best athletes have the shortest memories and for Bozeman, they are already looking ahead.

“Now on to basketball in four days,” laughed Embry.

Sure enough, on Wednesday afternoon Embry was already in the South Gym at Bozeman High School doing some shooting practice before winter sports officially kick off on Thursday.

Nick Petraccione

Nick Petraccione

Nick is the Sports Director at KBZK and KXLF in Butte and Bozeman, Montana. He attended Syracuse University and moved to Montana in 2017.
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