SIOUX FALLS-Burke coach Billie Jo Indahl wasn't alone in thinking the Cougars might need five sets to top Ethan on Friday in the Class B consolation semifinal at the Premier Center.
In a back-and-forth match, the No. 7 Cougars scored three of the final four points to avoid a fifth set, defeating the No. 6 Rustlers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-19 and 25-23.
"Today, I felt like our girls were out there having fun," Indahl said. "Last night was a little different story-almost like they were intimidated the whole time."
Indahl said her team needed to readjust and get their minds right after last night's loss to Warner. Burke readjusted in a match featuring big hitters on both sides of the net.
The Cougars had plenty of motivation, too, as it has its eyes set on improving on its sixth-place finish from a season ago. Burke (30-8) will get the chance to do so against No. 5 Faulkton Area in the consolation championship at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.
To counter Ethan's big hitters, Indahl told her team to swing hard at the net and play with no fear. It resulted in cleaner passing and 51 kills.
That started with Bobbi Jo Wischmann dishing out 32 assists, helping Taylee Indahl and Lahna Matucha put down 18 and 17 kills, respectively.
Cameryn Logan had 16 kills and Jada Plastow added 13 for Ethan, thanks in part to Jessica Bartscher's 34 assists. That said, middle hitter Karly Gustafson was held to six kills (after recording 13 on Thursday) as Sierra Swan led the Cougars with three blocks.
"We knew they were going to be threats," coach Indahl said. "We knew we would have to be big at the net. I felt like our blocking did a really nice job and we were really aggressive."
It was back-and-forth all match, with Ethan's 11-5 run nearly erasing a 20-10 deficit in the first set. The Rustlers bounced back by keeping Burke an arm's distance away the entire second set. However, the tides turned again in the final two sets, with the Cougars breaking a 17-17 third-set tie with an 8-2 run and 22-22 fourth-set tie with a 3-1 run.
Lainee Schonebaum had a team-high 26 digs, Jo Wischmann added 20 and Matucha served three aces for Burke. For the Rustlers, Maddie Miiller had a team-high 24 digs and Plastow chipped in 22.
"We played Faulkton before, so this will be another good match for us," Indahl said on Burke's consolation championship match. "It was a battle before and I foresee it being a battle again. So that's our goal-let's go get that consolation championship."
Ethan (27-8) plays Kimball/White Lake for seventh place at 9 a.m. Saturday.