By Blake Colston
Second-ranked Southwest Covenant will try for a history-making victory over No. 7 Choteau-Mazie Thursday afternoon at 2:45 in the Class 3A quarterfinals at Yukon High School.
The Lady Patriots have never won a game at the state tournament, but this season has been full of new accomplishments for SWCS, including the program reaching No. 1 in the rankings for the first time ever while notching a record-setting 28 victories.
If head coach Heath Kufahl also leads Covenant to its only volleyball championship in school history, it’s possible he will have to defeat his daughter’s Christian Heritage team in the process.
So, conversations inside the Kufahl household this week have probably been interesting.
“We don’t want to talk about it, but we probably will,” CHA sophomore right side hitter Reese Kufahl said of potentially playing her dad’s team for the championship. “I’m excited about it and think playing them could be pretty interesting.”
CHA is on the opposite side of the bracket from SWCS, so both teams will need to win twice to bring the hypothetical matchup to fruition, but it’s something both father and daughter have contemplated.
“We’ve discussed some of the humor behind it,” said Heath Kufahl, who was head coach at Christian Heritage for 14 years until stepping away in 2021. “It can be lose-lose or win-win depending on how you approach it.”
The ties between the two schools don’t end with father and daughter. Reese’s twin brother Brody and younger brother Cruz are students at SWCS, and their older sister Maddie Pennington joined her dad’s coaching staff this summer.
Reese considered going with them to Yukon, but her ties to the CHA program were too deep, something Heath said he understood.
“I’ve been here my entire life and don’t know anything different,” Reese said. “My friends and I here have known each other for so long, it would’ve been hard to leave.”
The Crusaders, like the Lady Patriots, have had a resurgent season, but one of the teams may have to settle for a runner-up plaque Saturday.
“I know that we’ll win, but I think it’ll be a good game,” Reese said of the possible matchup.
“You never want to root against your own child. She’s had an enjoyable season and I’ll be rooting hard for her to make the championship game,” Heath added. “But there’s part of me that hopes something happens and we don’t end up playing.”