Belgrade found itself in several long, suspenseful rallies and couldn’t finish off with points.

Head coach Jessica Christensen knows what the problem is. In their first year at the Class AA level, the Panthers need to be more aggressive.

That said, they still managed to win five of 14 sets on the first day of the Great Falls Invite on Friday. They split with every team in their pool except Great Falls CMR and Helena Capital, which Christensen said are two of the best teams in the state.

Full statistics were not immediately available.

“We’re just learning we actually do belong in AA and actually can compete here,” Christensen said. “This is their time. It’s just going to take a little bit of time to realize where they belong.”

Christensen admitted the Panthers still have things to work on. She said her team doesn’t have the height to compare to the rest of Class AA squads, so they need to improve their blocking. And with a large senior class graduated from a year ago, Belgrade’s returning experience is limited.

However, Christensen was proud of how the Panthers served and forced other teams out of system.

Christensen hopes, with more experience on the second day of the invite on Saturday, the Panthers will learn to take advantage of those rallies they didn’t on Friday.

“It was a long day,” Christensen said. “I was pretty happy with how we performed.”

Colton Pool can be reached at or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.