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No. 8 Lyman looks to upset No. 1 Parker

Brooke Cersosimo/Republic Jessica Welter, right, works on a blocking drill with Lyman co-head coach Renee Thomas during a practice session Wednesday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Also pictured is Anna Flitner.

PRESHO -- The Lyman volleyball team kicks off the Class B state volleyball tournament against the No. 1 seed Parker at noon today at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

The Raiders (16-12) defeated Wall in four sets to earn a state tournament berth, for the first time in 17 years, in the Region 7B tournament.

Lyman co-head coach Jill Whalen said the team, which has no seniors on the roster, is excited to take in the state tournament experience.

"We are extremely excited to be here and be a part of this experience as a team," she said. "It's always a positive to make it to the tournament with a young team, so we're hoping that they'll get a taste of it and are going to be hungry again for it next year."

Although Lyman is an inexperienced team when it comes to the state tournament, its opponent is not.

This is Parker's fourth consecutive state tournament and the Pheasants took third place last year. Parker has yet to lose this season and has a record of 32-0.

Tessa Weeldreyer led Parker offensively in the regular season with 294 kills and Allison Sanner followed with 212. Amder Dysthe ledwith 212. Amber Dysthe led defensively with 305 digs and had 1,763 set assists.

Lyman co-head coach Renee Thomas said the team has been focused this week and knows it has a tall order in front of it. "Blocking has been key for us this season and we've been focusing on our defense this week," Thomas said. "We've got to be aggressive servers and hitters if we want to do well."

The Raiders are led by junior Anna Flitner, who has 392 kills so far this year. Flitner also has led defensively with 430 digs and 78 blocks.

Junior Jessica Welter has 157 kills on the season and has led Lyman in blocks with 75. Junior Bailey Almond has 519 set assists, 266 digs and 52 aces this year.

Whalen said her team is playing its best heading into today.

"You always want to peak at the end of the season, and I think that's where we are but can still improve," she said. "We want to see each one of our players have their best games. We're expecting to come here and play our best, and if we do that it'll be a fight."

Class B state tournament teams

Parker (32-0), top seed in tournament

Coach: Jill Christensen, 30th year

Path to state: Region 4B championship 3-0 win over Alcester-Hudson, District 7B championship 3-0 win over Marion, District 7B second round 3-0 win over Freeman

Top hitters: Tessa Weeldreyer, 318 kills; Allison Sanner, 253 kills; Micalanne Hanten, 205 kills

Top defenders: Jamie Haase, 46 blocks; Tessa Weeldreyer, 32 blocks; Amber Dysthe, 329 digs; Micalanne Hanten, 282 digs; Morgan Hay, 265 digs

Coach's comments: We are going into the tournament with high expectations. Our goal is that we hope that we play, and we will take it one game at a time.

Warner (31-0), second seed

Coach: Kari Jung, 15th year

Path to state: Region 1B championship 3-0 win over Summit, District 2B championship 3-0 win over Northwestern, District 2B second round 3-0 win over Hitchcock-Tulare

Top hitters: Rachel Rogers, 299 kills; Miranda Ristau, 275 kills; Carly Rozell, 181 kills

Top defenders: Alyssa Jung, 267 digs; Kaitlyn Armstrong, 159 digs

Coach's comments: My expectation is that we are going to have a great showing and give it everything we've got. I think our kids will be disappointed if we don't make a great effort to get the state championship.

Herreid/Selby Area (28-2), third seed

Coach: Jody Schmidt, 9th year

Path to state: Region 3B championship 3-0 win over Highmore-Harrold, District 6B championship 3-0 win over Ipswich, District 6B second round 3-0 win over Eureka/Bowdle

Top hitters: Shauni Schwartz, 320 kills; Haylee Biel, 271 kills

Top defenders: Haylee Biel, 69 blocks; Shauni Schwartz, 48 blocks; Abbey Fjeldheim, 351 digs; Kenzie Frank, 223 digs; Kendra Thorstenson, 157 digs

Coach's comments: We would like to go down to Mitchell, do our very best and hopefully win some games.

Andes Central (26-3), fourth seed

Coach: Rocky Brinkman

Path to state: Region 6B championship 3-1 win over Hanson, District 12B championship 3-0 win over South Central, District 12B second round 3-0 win over Tripp-Delmont/Armour

Top hitters: Kellie Winckler, 264 kills; Krista Winckler, 223 kills; Dennisha Johanneson, 149 kills

Top defenders: Krista Winckler, 48 blocks; Kellie Winckler, 46 blocks, 117 digs; Sierra Svatos, 150 digs

Coach's comments: We're focusing on our game and seeing where it goes from there.

Arlington (27-5), fifth seed

Coach: Anita Boeck, 23rd year

Path to state: Region 2B championship 3-1 win over Chester Area, District 3B championship 3-0 win over Estelline, District 3B second round 3-0 win over Lake Preston

Top hitters: Samantha Boeck, 580 kills; Jadyn Christensen, 152 kills; Brooke Hennrich, 147 kills

Top defenders: Samantha Boeck, 39 blocks, 155 digs; Jadyn Christensen, 218 digs; Brooke Hennrich, 211 digs; Brooklyn Judstra, 197 digs; Brett Heuer, 156 digs

Coach's comments: I think we are going to take it one match at a time. We come in against Andes Central and they're a good team. I think we will have to focus on that first and then see what happens.

James Valley Christian (21-6), sixth seed

Coach: Tim Nihart, 12th year

Path to state: Region 5B championship 3-0 win over White Lake, District 9B championship 3-0 win over Sanborn Central/Woonsocket, District 9B second round 3-0 win over Wolsey-Wessington

Top hitters: Jaclyn Loban, 239 kills; Kristen Williams, 227 kills

Top defenders: Leslie Brondsema, 49 blocks; Betsy Nelson, 26 blocks; Ariana Zuccaro, 343 digs; Jaclyn Loban, 283 digs; Tara Nihart, 245 digs

Coach's comments: We are obviously very happy to be here. We want to win our first match and we will see where we go after that.

Timber Lake (24-7), eighth seed

Coach: Sarah Schweitzer, 5th year

Path to state: Region 8B championship 3-1 win over Harding County, District 15B championship 3-0 win over McIntosh, District 15B second round 3-0 win over Dupree

Top hitters: Kristie Mettler, 195 kills; Courtney Dahlgren, 138 kills

Top defenders: Kathryn Biegler, 56 digs; Reba Aberle, 40 digs

Coach's comments: It's our first time, so I think we are still in a little bit of shock. It hasn't really hit us yet that we are here, but I expect it will once the tournament starts.

Lyman (16-12)

Coach: Renee Thomas and Jill Whalen

Path to state: Region 7B championship 3-1 win over Wall, District 13B championship 3-1 win over Jones County, District 13B second round 3-2 win over White River, District 13B first round 3-0 win over Crazy Horse

Top hitters: Anna Flitner, 392 kills; Jessica Welter, 157 kills

Top defenders: Anna Flitner, 430 digs, 78 blocks; Bailey Almond, 266 digs

Coach's comments: We don't know much about Parker, so we are focusing on the things we can control. We are very excited to be a part of the state tournament this year.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.