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Sweet 16 volleyball roundup: MCM advances to state for first time

McCook Central/Montrose's Jacy Pulse (4) tries to hit past Groton Area's Jennie Doeden (16) with MCM's McKenna Kranz (5) and Harley Miles (1) looking on during a Class A Sweet 16 match Tuesday at the Watertown Civic Arena. (Nathan Giese / Watertown Public Opinion)

WATERTOWN — An early deficit for the McCook Central/Montrose volleyball team wasn't a problem, as MCM claimed the second, third and fourth sets for a 3-1 win over Groton Area and clinching a trip to the Class A state tournament Tuesday at the Civic Arena in Watertown. Set scores were 23-25, 25-16, 25-17 and 25-21.

It's the first trip to a state volleyball tournament for the Fighting Cougars. McCook Central/Montrose (19-8) is the No. 8 seed and will play No. 1 Sioux Falls Christian (28-4) at 1 p.m. Central time in the first round on Nov. 16 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

"These girls have worked so hard for the last two, three years, putting in a lot of time on the court and this is just a really nice bonus for them to make it to the state tournament," McCook Central/Montrose coach Tami Bies said.

MCM shook off the nerves after a tight first set and won the final three sets to earn a spot to state.

"We just figured out we could play right there with them and got some really good offensive attacks by our hitters and things just kept rolling from there," Bies said.

Morgan Koepsell had 18 kills and three blocks for MCM and Aleah Ries finished with 15 kills and 19 digs. McKenna Kranz had 14 kills, 12 digs and two aces. Emily Bies added 30 assists and two aces. Hayley Miles recorded 18 assists. Harley Miles finished with 20 digs.

For Groton Area, Jennie Doeden and Gia Gengerke had 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Miranda Hanson had 30 assists and Payton Maine had 40 digs.

Belle Fourche 3, Winner 2

WALL — The Winner Warriors, seeded 14th in Class A in the Sweet 16, gave third-seeded Belle Fourche all it could handle Tuesday night but came up a few points short, with the Broncs advancing in five sets. Set scores were 25-22, 16-25, 25-17, 18-25 and 15-11.

Morgan Hammerbeck had 23 kills and two aces for the Warriors, with Abby Marts adding 10 kills, 25 digs and two aces. Gracie Littau had 29 assists and Mackenzie Levi had 15 assists. Alexis Richey had 33 digs in the loss for Winner.

"We were two very comparable teams," Winner coach Jaime Keiser said. "Our girls, they never gave up and they had the heart. We came out on fire in that fourth set to force game five.

Belle Fourche rode its big hitters down the stretch to clinch the victory, heading to the state tournament for the first time since 2013.

"I thought serve-receive and passing fell apart a bit and they did a good job of getting the ball to their hitters," Keiser said. "It just came down to a few plays late and unfortunately for us, it didn't go our way."

Winner's season ends at 21-10. The Broncs (30-3) will be the No. 3 seed in the Class A state tournament on Nov. 16, facing Sioux Valley in the first round.

Class B

Warner 3, Bridgewater-Emery 0

MADISON—No. 3 seed Warner swept No. 14 Bridgewater-Emery in a Sweet 16 qualifying match on Tuesday in Madison. Set scores were 25-13, 25-14 and 25-6.

Peyton Ellingson and Laurie Rogers powered the Monarchs with 16 and 14 kills, respectively. Rogers added five blocks. Morgan Rozell dished out 40 assists and added six digs. Laura Oschner had 16 digs for Warner, which heads to state at 28-4.

For Bridgewater-Emery, Haley Schulz and Kennedee Weber had six and five kills, respectively. Joslyn Schrank had 16 digs and Katelyn Kotas had eight digs. Sophia Potter had 12 assists and five digs.

Bridgewater-Emery finishes its season 16-12.

Herreid/Selby Area 3, Kimball/White Lake 0

PIERRE — Slow starts in each of the first two sets put Kimball/White Lake in a tough spot Tuesday night and Herreid/Selby Area closed out the WiLdKats season in a three-set, Class B Sweet 16 match in Pierre. Set scores were 25-17, 25-17 and 25-23.

KWL trailed 13-6 midway through the first set and was in a 7-0 hole to start the second set. Leading the way for KWL was Sara Kunnari, who had 10 kills and two blocks. Sage Pulse added seven kills and Darby Deffenbaugh had six kills and 14 digs. Heather Munsen added 23 assists and 13 digs for the WiLdKats.

The Wolverines (29-2) advance to the Class B state tournament, while KWL finishes the season at 21-6.