Playing some of its best volleyball of the season, Belle Fourche defeated St. Thomas More 25-8, 25-23, 25-11 in the semifinal round of the Region 8A tournament Thursday at Ed Petranek Armory.
The win propelled the Lady Broncs into the Sweet Sixteen versus Winner at Wall High School Tuesday. The victor of Tuesday's match earns a berth in the State A Tournament at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City Nov. 16-18.
"I'm very proud of my girls," said Belle Fourche coach Loree Schlichtemeier. "It's a brand new season. Everybody wants the same thing. These matches are tough matches."
Belle Fourche enjoyed a 5-0 edge in the first set. An attack kill and tip by Rylee Young upped the lead to 12-3. More got no closer than nine points the rest of the set.
An ace serve by Emma Singer presented BFHS with a 9-4 lead in the second set. The Lady Cavaliers answered with five straight points. More took a 14-12 edge on a kill by Ciara Benson. The two teams were tied fives, the last at 22-22. Sierra Ward's tip and kill gave Belle a 24-22 advantage. After a kill by Alex Kandolin, the Lady Broncs ended the set with a point.
Successive kills by Tristan Garman and Ashley Byrd handed Belle a 13-5 lead in the third set. Byrd and Garman later teamed up for a block to end the match.
Mandee Williamson was 19-of-20 serving with four aces. The BFHS senior added five kills and two blocks. Young and Payson Birkeland each were 14-of-14 serving. Birkeland had two aces and 11 set assists. Fallon Budmayr chipped in 15 assists and three blocks.
Ward led the attacking with 18 kills. Garman provided eight kills and three blocks. Ward collected 13 digs, followed by four each by Young and Singer.
"We were 71-of-74 serving," said coach Schlichtemeier of one of the keys to the win. "The kids have been working hard in practice. We've had awesome senior leadership."
"Belle played really well," said More coach Scott Benson. "We didn't show up to play. We made a lot of mistakes. Belle played really smart."
Jessica Peterson notched two ace serves, five kills and one block for the Lady Cavaliers. Amelya Robinson dished out 20 assists. Kandolin nine kills and seven digs. Jillian Houk claimed four kills and two blocks. Aislin Duffy added one block. Skylar Sullivan added eight digs and Benson added six digs.