A year after winning the state Class AA volleyball season with a perfect season, Sioux Falls O'Gorman found a way to repeat with a perfect ending.
Down 2-0, the second-seeded Knights rallied to win the final three sets and defeat No. 1 Sioux Falls Washington 3-2 Saturday night in this year's championship match in the new Summit Arena at The Monument.
It was the second five-set thriller in two nights for O'Gorman (23-4), which secured the eighth state title in school history and prevented Washington (30-2) from winning its first championship since 2001.
"Honestly, I knew we had it the whole time," said O'Gorman's 6-foot senior middle hitter Isabella Steffel, who tallied 16 kills and one solo and two block assists. "It just took us a bit to get into the groove. We collected ourselves in the second set. We said we got this and we went out and showed it."
The Knights certainly celebrated another big victory that they'll remember for years.
The Warriors will likely remember it without much of the same enjoyment. The loss was Washington's first against a South Dakota team this fall and allowed O'Gorman to avenge a 3-2 regular-season loss.
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"Definitely, it's heartbreaking to be up 2-0 and lose in five," said Washington head coach Kelly Schroeder. "Words can't describe that kind of stuff."
Sioux Falls Christian claims 11th title in 15 years
Sioux Falls Christian was well on its way to its fifth consecutive state Class A volleyball championship, and its 11th in 15 years, when head coach Darci Wassenaar called a timeout late in the third set.
Garretson had trimmed the Chargers' lead down to 16-12 and Wassenaar wasn't about to take any chances.
"Volleyball is such a game of momentum and when you feel that changing, you have to stop it," said Wassenaar. "We want to make sure we regrouped, stayed focused on the task at hand and just finished."
The top-seeded Chargers did just that by capping a 35-4 season and an impressive run through the three-day state tournament with a 3-0 sweep Saturday night in the Summit Arena at the Monument.
Sioux Falls Christian won all three sets by the same 25-15 score.
"They're good, they're very good," said Garretson head coach Dennis Northrup. "We feel like we didn't play very well, but when you're getting the ball whacked at you like that you don't play very well."
Garretson, making only its second-ever trip to state, hadn't even won a state-tournament match until Thursday before making it to the finals with back-to-back five set-victories.
Saturday's loss was only the Blue Dragons' second in 31 matches.
Senior Katie VanEgdom set the pace on Saturday by clubbing 20 kills for the Chargers. Sydney Tims, another senior, added seven kills, and juniors Peyton Poppema and Ellie Lems each five.
Warner back on top in Class B
A deep and talented field was supposed to produce a wide-open battle to determine a South Dakota state Class B volleyball champion.
In the end, it was perennial power Warner that returned to the top Saturday after a two-year absence.
The second-seeded Monarchs captured their seventh state title — all under current head coach Kari Jung and all since 2007 — with an impressive 3-0 win over fifth-seeded Colman-Egan in the Summit Arena at the Monument.
Warner (33-5) was making its 10th championship appearance since 2007. Colman-Egan's second-ever state tournament appearance ended with its first championship setback.
"The girls just came in with the goal to win it and boy, they were on fire," said Jung. "They (the state championships) are all special and they all mean something. It's just for for the kids. I'm happy for them."
Senior Jennifer Aman produced 14 kills, freshman Kyla Schopp 10, junior Kamryn Anderson eight and sophomore Kyra Marcuson seven. Nilsson distributed 36 assists. Marcuson also made 12 digs and junior Kiah Koch and sophomore libero Courtney Bjorgaard each had nine.
"Ava mixed it up so well and we had kills in all different spots," said Jung. "It was hard to stop them, They just wanted it that bad today."
Senior Hailey Larson tallied nine kills, junior Ava Mousel 12 assists, sophomore Daniela Lee 11 digs and senior Mackenzie Hemmer 10 digs for Colman-Egan (27-8).