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Sioux Falls Christian storms to straight-set win over Wagner in Class A semifinals

The Red Raiders (28-7) will play for third place on Saturday afternoon

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Wagner's Kya Kjeldgaard stretches to tip a ball at the net against Sioux Falls Christian in a Class A semifinal at the Summit Arena, in Rapid City. (Landon Dierks / Republic)

RAPID CITY — No. 1 Sioux Falls Christian and No. 4 Wagner entered their semifinal matchup having secured convincing, momentum-building quarterfinal victories.

But it was the Chargers (34-4) who carried that form through, rolling through the Red Raiders (28-7) in a Class A semifinal at the Summit Arena on Friday night. Set scores were 25-18, 25-5 and 25-17.

“I think we came out well, came out strong,” said Wagner coach Stacey Knebel. “Then, we didn’t give up, but we kinda rolled over a little bit. We just didn’t have that mental toughness and just couldn’t put it together.”

Wasting no time, the Chargers jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the opening set. While Wagner eventually pulled to within a single point, Sioux Falls Christian pulled away for a seven-point win.

It’s the closest Wagner would come. The Chargers dominated the second set, surging to a 13-2 lead and smothering the normally effective Red Raider attack before a timeout, which did little to stem the momentum. Wagner hitters found some openings again in the third set, but not enough to unseat the Class A favorites.

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Knebel identified her team’s block as a strength and an area where it would have to perform well to give themselves opportunities, and while the Red Raiders got hands on their share of balls at the net, it didn’t seem to make much of a dent.

“We didn’t close them up like we should’ve,” Knebel said. “That was going to be a key in this game and our defense isn’t going to be able to dig out balls like that. It’s just not going to happen.”

Sioux Falls Christian got 11 kills, six digs and one ace serve from Katie VanEgdom, as Kylah vanDonkersgoed chipped in five kills, a team-high 12 digs and three aces. Ellie Lems had seven kills, nine digs and two aces, and Addisen Barber put up 30 assists and one ace. The Charger will play No. 2 Garretson/No. 3 Dakota Valley for the Class A title at 7 p.m. Central time on Saturday.

Avari Bruguier recorded seven kills and 10 digs to pace the Red Raiders. Madi Knebel also had 10 digs, as Macy Koupal posted 11 assists and six digs. Wagner meets No. 2 Garretson/No. 3 Dakota Valley in the third-place match at 1:30 p.m. Central time on Saturday.

“We really have to think about the little things we did not do tonight and how we can come together (Saturday),” Stacey Knebel said. “Tomorrow is not going to be an easy match either, so we’re going to have to be ready to go.”

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALLPREP SPORTSWAGNER
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 ldierks@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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