No. 4 Wagner closes out No. 5 Hill City in Class A quarterfinals

The Red Raiders advance to the Class A semifinals where they'll face No. 1 Sioux Falls Christian.

Wagner's Emma Yost hits through a pair of Hill City defenders in a match during the first day of the Class A state tournament on Thursday at The Summit Arena in Rapid City. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

RAPID CITY — Fourth-seeded Wagner jumped to a 2-0 set advantage and closed out No. 5 Hill City to win a Class A quarterfinal in four sets on Thursday afternoon at Summit Arena. Set scores were 25-18, 25-21, 11-25 and 26-24.

Wagner (28-6) slowly pulled away to claim the first set and establish the match’s tone early. The momentum carried over to the second set, propelling the Red Raiders to a hot start and a 2-0 set advantage before the Rangers were able to mount any sort of response.

“The first two sets the girls came out ready to play,” said Wagner coach Stacey Knebel. “Then some errors got into their heads a little bit, but they were able to play through it. This team has been working on the mental part of the game all season and it’s really coming together here late. I’ve been telling them that once we have the mental and physical, we’re going to be hard to reckon with.”

When Hill City (26-8) did record its first set victory, it was in convincing fashion, forcing Wagner to display the mental resilience it has been cultivating throughout its campaign. The Red Raiders battled with the Rangers through the whole fourth set, but nudged in front in the final moments to take the 3-1 victory.


Wagner celebrates their match point win over Hill City during the first day of the Class A state tournament on Thursday at The Summit Arena in Rapid City. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

Emma Yost recorded 18 kills and 18 digs, and Shona Kocer added 11 kills and two solo blocks to lead the Red Raiders. Macy Koupal put up 43 assists, while Madi Knebel (20), Avari Bruguier (13) and Shalayne Nagel (12) each notched double-digit digs.

For Hill City, Marie Peckosh had 11 kills and 12 digs, and Karsen Kirsch had seven kills and 13 digs. Abby Siemonsma posted 24 assists, while Anna Dean added 19 digs for the Rangers, who will face No. 8 Parkston in the consolation bracket semifinals at 1 p.m. Central time on Friday.

Wagner will play No. 1 Sioux Falls Christian in the Class A semifinals on Friday night. The Chargers defeated No. 8 Parkston in straight sets in Thursday’s first quarterfinal.

“Traditionally with Sioux Falls Christian, their blockers are always huge,” Knebel said. “We have blockers to go up against them and give them trouble, but we’ll have to pass well and play good defense.”

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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