SIOUX FALLS-There is little margin for error at the state volleyball tournament.
Teams have the ability to capitalize on the slightest of mistakes and Winner High School felt that firsthand against Elk Point-Jefferson in Thursday's Class A quarterfinal at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
Warriors' head coach Jaime Keiser felt her fourth-seeded team came out a bit sluggish and the No. 5 Huskies took advantage. EPJ spent most of the match on the offensive and eventually sent Winner to the consolation bracket in a sweep, 25-19, 25-17 and 25-15.
"I didn't think we came out focused," Keiser said. "I thought our defense really struggled, our serve receive struggled, we couldn't get the ball to our hitters, we played a lot of defense and (Elk Point-Jefferson) did a good job staying within system, which I knew was going to be the key of the match."
In each set, Winner fell into an early hole and then rallied to close the gap, but couldn't sustain the run at any point. The Warriors came back from an 18-11 deficit in the first set to trim the lead to 19-18, but couldn't get over the hump as EPJ scored six of the final seven points to win the set.
Some of those struggles came on service plays, both offensively and defensively, which ended rallies or preserved runs for the Huskies.
"We had six missed serves the last time I counted and it could have been more," Keiser said. "We're usually a good serving team. I don't know if nerves got them-it seemed like we were out of whack all match long."
Morgan Hammerbeck had 11 kills and 12 digs, while Maggie LaCompte and Gracie Littau had 21 digs apiece for Winner (26-4).
The Warriors now move into the consolation bracket, where they face No. 8 Rapid City Christian at noon today.
"I told them in the huddle that this is not the same team that has shown up all year long, show the fans we're a better team than this and hopefully our seniors step up and get everybody back on the right page," Keiser said.
Carlie Corder had a big match at the net for Elk Point-Jefferson (28-5), recording a match-high 16 kills to propel her team to the semifinals against No. 1 Miller on Thursday.