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Top-seeded Platte-Geddes volleyball sweeps Faith, advances to Class B state tournament

The Black Panthers (32-4) will be the No. 1 seed in their first appearance in the state tourney since 2016.

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Platte-Geddes' Avery DeVries (8), Karly VanDerWerff (7) and Regan Hoffman (2) form a three-person block as Faith's TyAnn Mortenson rises to hit the ball during a SoDak 16 match on Nov. 9, 2021, at the Huron Arena, in Huron. (Landon Dierks / Republic)

HURON — Platte-Geddes, the No. 1 seed in Class B, left no doubt about its place in the state tournament, sweeping No. 16 Faith in a SoDak 16 match Tuesday night at Huron Arena. Set scores were 25-17, 25-16 and 25-10.

With the win, the Black Panthers (32-4) qualified for their first state tournament since 2016 in the program’s first appearance in the SoDak 16, which has existed in Class B since 2017.

The team’s first action in the state-qualifying round got off to a shaky start, as the Black Panthers trailed the Longhorns 7-9 in the early going, but recovered to win 18 of the final 26 points to take the set comfortably.

In its early stages, the second set looked likely to play out in a similar manner to its predecessor, with Faith edging ahead early on and Platte-Geddes coming back to take a lead in the middle portion of the frame. However, Faith used a small run of its own to draw level at 15-15. But the No. 1 seed would prove too much again, powering ahead by winning the next seven points on the way to a 2-0 set advantage.

"They were really scrappy," Platte-Geddes sophomore middle hitter Karly VanDerWerff said of Faith. "They really went after everything and we weren't expecting that. I was a little nervous, to be honest, but we really pulled everything together in that third set."

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From that point on, whatever rust or jitters from earlier in the match dissipated, as Platte-Geddes went on the attack and pounded Faith in the third set, taking 14 of the final 16 points for its most lopsided set score of the match.

"I could tell our girls looked a little tight," said coach Melissa Johnson. "They didn't really look like they were having fun. So when we had our huddle before they went onto the court for that third set, I said, 'Girls, this is it. This moment doesn't come back, so have to soak it in and enjoy it.' And I felt like they did that in the third set."

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Platte-Geddes' Cadence Van Zee (6) attempts to hit past Faith's Reagan Grueb and Shada Selby (2) during a SoDak 16 match on Nov. 9, 2021, at the Huron Arena, in Huron. (Landon Dierks / Republic)

Cadence Van Zee led the Black Panthers with 12 kills to go with 10 digs and three ace serves, followed closely by VanDerWerff’s 11 kills and 10 digs. Avery DeVries put up 28 assists, and Regan Hoffman paced Platte-Geddes with 18 digs along with four aces. Baleigh Nachtigal also notched eight aces and nine digs.

Individual statistics were not immediately available for the Longhorns, whose season comes to a close with a record of 20-18.

Platte-Geddes is joined by No. 2 Warner, No. 3 Arlington, No. 4 Chester Area, No. 5 Colman-Egan, No. 6 Faulkton Area, No. 8 Aberdeen Christian and No. 10 Burke in the eight-team Class B tournament field.

Platte-Geddes will meet familiar foe Burke in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, Nov. 18, in Rapid City. The Black Panthers defeated the Cougars both times they met during the regular season, as Burke forced a five-set match on Sept. 21 and the Platte-Geddes won 2-0 in a best-of-three sets match at the Southeast South Dakota Conference Tournament on Oct. 23.

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"This is my first time in this position as a coach and it's the first time for these girls, too," Johnson said. "Emotions are extremely high right now. We're overjoyed with accomplishing our goal of making it to state."

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Platte-Geddes volleyball players celebrate on the court following a straight-set win over Faith in the SoDak 16 on Nov. 9, 2021, at the Huron Arena, in Huron. (Landon Dierks / Republic)

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALLPREP SPORTS
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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