HURON -- Two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum collided at the Huron Arena.
Corsica-Stickney, making its first state volleyball appearance as a consolidated school district, faced off against No. 1 seed Northwestern in the Class B state opener on Thursday. The Wildcats, who were playing in their 21st state tournament, once again looked the part of a championship contender and swept the Jaguars in straight sets. The set scores were 25-12, 25-8 and 25-13.
“They have a very, very good team,” Corsica-Stickney coach Kylee Hongslo said. “Of course they have had an awesome program and it’s a good experience to even play them.”
The Wildcats (27-1) have played in four consecutive state championship matches, winning three of them. Northwestern’s lone loss this season was against Class AA No. 1 Sioux Falls O’Gorman.
“They have really good servers, really good passers and just hard hitters,” Corsica-Stickney senior middle hitter Raven Barse said. “So they are just an all-around great team. I knew it was going to be a super tough game but I am proud of how we played.”
The Jaguars (19-4) allowed Northwestern to put down 32 kills, compared to just 18 kills of their own. Sydney Schell, a future Dakota State University volleyball player, led the Wildcats with 14 kills.
Morgan DeLange paced the Jaguars with seven kills, while Avery Broughton posted five kills.
Corsica-Stickney’s Achilles heel was its serve and serve-receive. Northwestern finished with eight aces, while Corsica-Stickney didn’t have an ace in the match.
“Our serve-receive definitely needs to get better for the rest of the week,” Hongslo said. “They have that left-handed server from their libero (Joclyn Haven) and you could just tell we could not read that one.”
Haven, Teryn Sparling and Hannah Schentzel each finished with two aces.
“It’s frustrating, but you just have to shake it off and go onto the next play,” Barse said about the aces. “Not every serve that they do is going to be the same.You could get a good pass to your setter on the next one. You just can’t get in your head about that stuff.”
Corsica-Stickney’s Sutten Eide recorded 14 assists and six digs. Barse added four kills and nine digs.
Northwestern will play Bridgewater-Emery or Colman-Egan at 5 p.m. Friday in the championship semifinals.
The Jaguars play Bridgewater-Emery or Colman-Egan at noon Friday in the championship semifinals.
“It was a learning experience,” Hongslo added. “We need to forget about it and not hang our heads about that game. I know we were going up against the No. 1 team and now we have to come back and make sure we play our game against our next opponent.”
Notes: Corsica qualified for the inaugural Class B state volleyball tournament in 1992. The Comets also lost to Northwestern (15-3, 15-3) in the 1992 opener.