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HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

RC Christian squanders match points, two-set lead in SoDak 16 loss to Parkston

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KADOKA — Rapid City Christian didn’t collapse in the final three sets of its SoDak 16 match Tuesday night.

Battling a resilient Parkston squad that refused to let shots through, the Comets were still forceful and went tit-for-tat with the Trojans in some of the best volleyball two teams can offer.

The moments they might remember, however, were two match points, one in the third set and another in the fifth, both squandered in a 25-19, 27-25, 25-27, 22-25, 15-17 loss to fall one match, and in this instance one point, shy of a return to the Class A State Tournament.

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Junior setter Kylie Kallio sets the ball backward to middle hitter Alexis Truitt during the Comets loss to Parkston in Kadoka Tuesday night.

“They’re all hurting pretty bad,” RC Christian head coach Elizabeth Kieffer said. “(Parkston) has a great team and is coached by a great coach, and they were relentless tonight. They did a great job.”

Olivia Kieffer finished with 28 kills and Anna Egge poured in 21 for the Comets (25-10). Kylie Kallio racked up 61 assists, while Jaedyn Namanny collected 37 digs and Alexa Ham tallied five blocks.

Rapid City Christian opened the contest as the better team and built an early 14-8 lead thanks to two kills and a pair of aces by Egge. The Trojans (21-14) started to find their groove but found themselves in too big a hole as Kieffer dialed up three kills on a 9-5 run for the Comets to finish off the frame.

Parkston stole momentum and roared out to a 6-1 advantage in the second set. Neither squad was able to string together consecutive points afterward until the Trojans grabbed six of the next seven points for a 19-11 lead. 

RC Christian dialed up a comeback bid as Ham blocked back-to-back shots on a 5-0 run that turned into a 11-3 stretch thanks to a pair of kills from Kieffer to make it 23-23. The Comets then staved off set point and surrendered one of their own before Kieffer gave them their second opportunity on a kill and Egge capitalized with a spike for a two-sets-to-none advantage.

Rapid City Christian played from behind for the majority of the third set, taking brief 10-9 and 16-15 leads before Parkston built a 21-18 advantage. After Egge’s kill saved a set point, Truitt and Ham combined for a block to make it 24-24, and Egge blasted a kill to bring up match point, but a late call gave the next point to Parkston, which used a ricocheted dig off the ceiling and an errant shot into the net to win the third set and avoid elimination.

An Egge kill gave the Comets a 21-20 lead in the fourth set. A kill that caught the back line and a violation call turned the lead over to the Trojans, however, 22-21. Kieffer leveled the frame at 23-23 with a cross-court kill, but a returned kill, a violation and a shot that hit the left pole handed the set to the Trojans to force a decisive fifth set.

Parkston had its fans roaring after surging to a 9-4 advantage in the fifth set thanks in part to back-to-back aces. RC Christian used its offensive weapons to chip away at its deficit, aided by a pair of Kieffer kills, to tie things up at 13-13. After a kill that caught the line gave the Trojans their first match point, Kieffer came through with two kills in a row to keep the match going and give the Comets their second match point. 

Rapid City Christian’s ensuing serve sailed long, however, and Parkston capitalized with back-to-back aces to finish off the upset victory in comeback fashion.

“I was really proud of them,” Keiffer said of her squad. “They did the best they could tonight. It didn’t go in our favor.”

Contact Matt Case at matt.case@rapidcityjournal.com

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