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Unfinished business: Winner volleyball team uses last season as fuel

WINNER--Unfinished business. That's the motto for the Winner High School volleyball team. The Class A No. 3 Warriors are using last season's finish to fuel its 2018 campaign. Winner lost to Belle Fourche in a five-set heartbreaker in the Round of...

Winner's Morgan Hammerbeck goes up for a kill against Chamberlain's Maggy Pickner on Oct. 9 in Chamberlain. Winner's Maggie LaCompte is in the background. (Ryan Deal / Republic)
Winner's Morgan Hammerbeck goes up for a kill against Chamberlain's Maggy Pickner on Oct. 9 in Chamberlain. Winner's Maggie LaCompte is in the background. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

WINNER-Unfinished business.

That's the motto for the Winner High School volleyball team.

The Class A No. 3 Warriors are using last season's finish to fuel its 2018 campaign. Winner lost to Belle Fourche in a five-set heartbreaker in the Round of 16 last season, but it's the driving force for this year's team.

"They are very determined," Winner head coach Jamie Keiser said. "They want it. They are hungry. Our motto has kind of been unfinished business. We didn't quite get it done last year."

The Warriors were the No. 15 seed in last season's Round of 16, but they're focused on ensuring a higher seed this year. Winner is currently 20-1 and has the fourth highest seed point average in Class A.

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"We said from the beginning, we have to be on that top five and that means you are playing the big matches and beating the big ones to get those 50 points," Keiser said. "We've actually talked power points quite a bit this year and then we have to finish out this year."

Winner's lone blemish was against Miller, but they also defeated the Rustlers in a five-set match in the first meeting. The Warriors face Wagner today in a match with major seeding implications. The Red Raiders are 21-3 and are also jockeying for playoff positioning. The Southeast South Dakota Conference tournament is Saturday in Tyndall. The tourney also features Wagner, Class A foe Mount Vernon/Plankinton and Class B power Burke.

"It could really make or break you at this point of the year," Keiser said. "The next two weeks are going to be crucial to where you are going to sit in power points."

Offensively, junior Morgan Hammerbeck, sophomore Kalla Bertram and freshman Ellie Brozik pace the Warriors.

"We move the ball around quite a bit," Keiser said. "So they don't know who we are going at, which is a great advantage. A lot of times when we are on, we are really hard to stop. That's kind of nice, but the biggest thing is we move the ball around quite a bit to make the blockers have to be honest."

Setters Addy Root and Mackenzie Levi are sound at spreading the attempts across the board, said Keiser.

"We have a lot of options and even on the bench when things aren't working out, we can kind of find somebody that can get it done," Keiser said. "Our setters had a lot of options who they can go to and it kind of depends on who is hot."

Winner lost its senior libero Alexis Richey midway through the season due to a knee injury and Maggie LaCompte has stepped into her role.

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"I thought it might take a few weeks to kind of get rolling again without her," Keiser said. "But we've had the other seniors really did a nice job of stepping up and being leaders without her and then Maggie LaCompte stepped in there and did a nice job."

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALL
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