RAPID CITY -- A few runs changed the complexity of the Class A state tournament.
It featured a bevy of close matchups, with five going to five sets. Even Sioux Falls Christian needed to go the distance to defeat Dakota Valley (25-22, 25-23, 16-25, 22-25, 15-11) in the championship match.
McCook Central/Montrose and Winner weren’t strangers to five-setters. Each team played two five-set matches, though combined to go 0-4. MCM fell to Miller (25-20, 23-25, 28-26, 22-25, 15-4) in the third-place match and Madison erased a 2-0 deficit to take down Winner (20-25, 20-25, 25-13, 25-16, 15-12) in the fifth-place match.
“We had a great season,” Winner coach Jaime Keiser said. “It’s never the way you want it to end, but once they get past this last match -- you got to look at the whole season and realize we did have a great season.”
Winner had a couple of close calls, starting in the first round against Sioux Falls Christian, which completed a three-peat this year. A back-and-forth match moved the Chargers into the semifinals and Winner back to the consolation bracket.
Morgan Hammerbeck still represented the Warriors on the all-tournament team. She had 62 kills and 43 digs in her final volleyball action.
“Senior season, it’s a hard one to end,” said Hammerbeck, who will play basketball at Black Hills State University next year. “Just missing all the girls will be the hardest part. … All of the girls on the team are so close.”
MCM’s Jacy Pulse also made the all-tournament team, recording 52 kills and 43 digs.
She was integral in the Fighting Cougars’ success, which included coming a set away from playing in the championship match. They led Dakota Valley 2-1 in the semifinals, but stumbled in the final two sets.
MCM’s characteristically slow starts hurt it in the 15-point sets. Still, it competed in the third-place match for the second straight year.
For Pulse, she summed up the season with a single word: proud.
“I’m proud of all my teammates, my seniors,” Pulse said. “We’ve done really good these last three years and I don’t think we have anything to hang our heads about.”
Sioux Falls Christian had the most all-tournament members -- Kelsi Heard, Abby Glanzer and Caitlyn Pruis -- while Dakota Valley and Miller each had two players.
Class B teams ‘hungry’ to return
Three area Class B volleyball teams got a taste of state and now they’re hungry for more.
Burke, Ethan and Bridgewater-Emery qualified for the Class B state volleyball tournament this past weekend in Rapid City.
The Cougars were making their third straight trip and it was the second in a row for Ethan. Bridgewater-Emery was making its first appearance in school history. Burke finished fourth place, while Ethan knocked off Bridgewater-Emery for seventh place.
But no matter the situation, the three programs are all chomping at the bit to return to state.
Ethan mainstays Jada Plastow and Jessica Bartscher will be graduating. Plastow compiled more than 1,000 career kills, while Bartscher dished out more than 2,500 assists at the setter spot. The group returning will be highlight by junior middle Cameryn Logan.
“We will probably be rebuilding next year,” Ethan coach Stephanie Plastow said. “But the girls know what success feels like now and what it takes to win. I think they are hungry for that, too.”
Burke’s season began with a tornado that rocked the community, but ended at another state volleyball tourney.
“I am super proud of this team and what they had to battle and had to go through all season long,” Burke coach Billie Jo Indahl said. “Not very many people thought maybe we were going to be here with everything we had to go through, but they didn’t let it phase them.”
The Cougars will be without seniors Taylee Indahl and Lainee Schonebaum. Indahl racked up more than 2,000 kills and 1,600 digs. Schonebaum finished with more than 1,100 digs.
Billie Jo Indahl told the seniors after their final match against Warner they left a legacy that has set the standard for Burke volleyball.
“We are going to have a great core coming back next year and we are really looking forward to that,” Billie Jo Indahl said. “But it’s really going to be hard without those seniors.”
The Huskies will be without four key seniors in Haley Schulz, Sophia Potter, Kennedee Weber and Cylie Kressman. But the team returns a host of invaluable experience, highlighted by Kerrigan Schultz, Taylor Schallenkamp and Julia Weber.
“I think we are going to have a really good year next year,” B-E coach Mary Ernster said. “We have a lot of talent coming back. There were times when I looked out on the court and we had four sophomores and two juniors playing. We got a lot of experience for the younger girls in this tournament.”