During the first set of Rapid City Stevens Class AA State Volleyball quarterfinal match with Huron, Raiders coach Kylie Voorhees was forced to call a timeout to give her a team good ole' fashion chewing out.
The No. 3 seed Raiders were trailing No. 6 seeded Huron by as much as 21-7 in the first set, but Stevens heard Voorhees loud and clear.
After dropping the first set 25-13, Stevens went on to advance the semifinals with a 3-1 win over the Tigers 25-17, 25-21, 25-23.
"I kind of laid into them a little bit during one of the timeouts, just basically saying that we’ve come here to compete, we’re not playing like we’re true athletes. We’re not playing like we’re true competitors, we need to pick up our game," Voorhees said. "They started talking too, and that was one of the things that they came to the conclusion that we need to start talking more, and I really think that’s what did it."
Stevens is now 29-6 on the season and will face No. 7 seed Sioux Falls Washington at 7:45 p.m. for a chance to advance to the Class AA championship.
The first set was ugly for Stevens. With Phebie Rossi on the bench for most a large chunk of the set, Huron went on a run built off of solid serves from Alexis Urena.
What was a 10-6 lead turned into 20-7 before the Tigers ended the first set.
Rossi finished the match with nine kills, seven digs and three solo blocks.
"Phebie has come around in key times and she did it again tonight," Voorhees said. "Sometimes we we don’t utilize her nearly as much as we probably should, but when we do utilize her it makes a difference."
In the second set it was Stevens that was able to control the tempo of the match with the serve. After taking a 10-7 lead, the Raiders went on a 10-6 run to make the lead 20-13, before closing out Huron.
"I think we have a lot of young kids. I think the moment got real and got big on them," Huron coach Shelly Buddenhagen said. "They served us out of the gym there in that second set and we lost a little bit of our momentum. I think Rapid City Stevens put us in a position where we were out of system a lot, we couldn’t get our hitters the ball in the right positions."
Stevens recorded seven aces in the match, including four from Marlee Schneider and two from Elizabeth Schaefer.
The third set was tighter, as Stevens started out with a 10-8 lead that turned into a 20-15 lead before finishing off the set.
Again, serving kept Stevens in control, but Voorhees also made adjustments from the first set to let the Raiders height and athletic advantage shine through.
"We adjusted to what they were doing very well in the first set. They got a lot of momentum off hitting our line so I adjusted my block, I adjusted my defense a little bit and it worked out for us," she said. "I think serving went well, one of our strategies was to serve short and that’s what we did. The times we did we executed and scored so that portion of our game plan worked well for us."
The fourth set was where it looked like Huron would be able to make some noise again. After the Raiders took an early 10-9 lead, the Tigers jumped on top 18-14 and 20-17, but Stevens went on a 7-3 run to punch its ticket to the semifinals.
Schaefer led Stevens in kills with 10. Carly Buehner led the team in digs with 22 and Schneider led in assists with 24.
For Huron, Hollee Niehus had 19 kills and Jayda Shillingstad had 35 assists. Havyn Heinz had 19 digs while Melissa Berg had three aces.
For Huron, the tournament isn't over yet. The Tigers will face No. 2 seed Mitchell today in the consolation semifinals.
Buddenhagen said her team has been fighting all year and won't stop now just because a state title is out of reach.
"We knew all season we were going to have to fight, so we don’t really worry about the result, we worry about the performance and effort," she said. "We were relying on our serve and our defense to keep us in matches and I think the kids have embraced that. We’re going to get out hit and out-blocked but we’re going to try to not get out hustled."
The match will be at 1:45 p.m.
SIOUX FALLS WASHINGTON 3, MITCHELL 2: In what was a back-and-forth affair, Sioux Falls Washington scored the upset over the second-seeded Kernals to earn a spot in the championship semifinals of the Class AA state tournament.
In the opening set, the Warriors took the early advantage with a 25-15 victory.
The Kernals bounced back to take the second and third sets 25-22 and 25-17, but Washington had an answer as it won the fourth set 25-22.
The fifth set was close early, before the Warriors pulled away to seal the win with a 15-10 victory.
Samiya Jami and Sydni Schetnan led Washington in kills with 13 apiece, while Hailey Olson finished with 30 assists. Peyton Rymerson paced the team in digs with 25.
For Mitchell, Mackenzie Miller led with 20 kills, while Chelsea Brewster added 12.
Mandy Schmidt finished with 38 assists for the Kernals.
HARRISBURG 3, SIOUX FALLS O’GORMAN 1: Top seed Harrisburg advanced to the championship semifinals with a win over Sioux Falls O’Gorman.
The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a 25-15 win in the first set, before taking the second set 25-18.
O’Gorman cut the deficit with a 25-18 victory in the third set, but Harrisburg took back momentum and closed out the match with a 25-23 fourth set win.
Madison Wassink led the Tigers with 16 kills, while Carlie Fikse chipped in with 10. Avery Thorson led the team with 38 assists and Brooklyn Bollweg finished with 20 digs.
Emma Ronsiek led the way for O’Gorman with 17 kills, while Jaime Renshaw and McKenzie Hermanson had 16 assists apiece.
The Tigers will take on Watertown in the semifinals today at 6 p.m., while O’Gorman plays Aberdeen Central in the consolation semifinals at noon.
WATERTOWN 3, ABERDEEN CENTRAL 0: Watertown ran past Aberdeen Central for a straight-set victory.
The Arrows had little trouble as they took the first set 25-21, followed by 25-15 and 25-18 victories in the second and third sets.
Annie Norberg paced Watertown with 10 assists, Taylor Corey had 26 digs and McKenzie Buisker finished with 11 kills.
For Aberdeen Central, Haylee Mork finished with 21 assists and Brooklyn Kusler had seven kills.