James Valley Christian’s Leslie Brondsema goes up for block during the second set against Herreid-Selby Area on Thursday at the Class B State Tournament at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. In the next photo, James Valley Christian’s Ariana Zuccaro digs the ball during a match against Herreid-Selby Area on Thursday in the opening round of the Class B State Volleyball Tournament. PHOTOS BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN
MITCHELL — With six seniors and three juniors who vividly remember Herreid-Selby Area winning 15-1 in the fifth and final game of the consolation title match during the 2011 Class B State Volleyball Tournament, James Valley Christian coach Tim Nihart needed little motivation as the two teams met in the opening round of the 2012 state tournament on Thursday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
The Lady Vikings used a 3-1 victory in this year’s tournament to avenge that loss and earn a spot in today’s semifinals.
“It felt good,” Nihart said of earning the win against the Wolverines. “After we played so well in last year’s tournament and lost that last game like that, it just added a little fuel to the fire for our team and gave us a little extra.”
Judging by the outcome of the opening set on Thursday, it appeared the outcome of the match might mirror the results from a year ago, as Herreid-Selby Area pulled away for a 25-9.
“In that first set I was stressing to our girls that we had to quit worrying about where we were and play like we play any other match,” Nihart said.
“We just needed to play for momentum for the next set.”
It appeared that the Wolverines were headed for victory in the second set as well, as they opened up a 14-10 lead. However, the Lady Vikings were able to even the score at 15-15 before enduring a back-and-forth battle and emerging with a 30-28 win to even the match at 1-1.
“We kept working and working and were able to pull out the win in the set,” Nihart said. “That kind of juiced us up and it was an even match, which went back and forth after that.”
JVC won the third set 25-21 to take a 2-1 lead and then claimed the victory with a 26-24 win in the fourth set.
“The way it started it was almost like an ESPN highlight reel for Herreid-Selby Area. They came out dominating and we couldn’t catch our breath,” Nihart said. “We started to get some touches on the ball at the net which led to better defense and with that we were able to get some offensive energy.
“It was one of the most amazing efforts by our team,” he said. “I was so glad to do it in four games, I didn’t want it to go to a fifth set.”
Ariana Zuccaro led the offensive effort for the Lady Vikings, who improved to 22-6, with 13 kills. Tara Nihart and Jaclyn Loban each added eight kills.
“It was Ariana Zuccaro’s night and Tara gave us offense from the setter position,” Nihart said. “But defensively we truly had a team effort, with Jaclyn Loban, Kristen Williams, Betsy Nelson and Leslie Brondsema leading the way.”
Nihart finished with a team-high 34 digs, while Zuccaro and Jaclyn Loban finished with 29 and 24, respectively.
Nihart also had 14 assists and four aces.
Jaclyn Loban had three aces, while Nelson recorded two solo blocks.
While it didn’t show in the final statistics, Brondsema had a huge night for the Lady Vikings.
“She’s able to get touches at the net, which slows down the ball for our defense and gets into the hitter’s heads,” Nihart said of Brondsema. “She’s a tough wall to go around and when they tried to hit around her they would hit it out.”
Shauni Schwartz led Herreid-Selby Area (28-3) with 22 kills, while Abbey Fjeldheim had three aces. McKenzie Frank had team-highs with 28 assists and 21 digs.
James Valley Christian will face second-seeded Warner, which is one of two undefeated teams in the tournament, in the semifinals at 7:45 p.m. today at the Corn Palace. The two teams met during the regular season with Warner winning 3-0.
“We’re glad to be in the semifinals and facing a very good team,” Nihart said. “We saw them before and they are big and good, but we competed with them.
“It all comes down to serve receive,” he said as the key for his squad to avenge yet another loss. “They serve really well.”
In the other semi-final matchup, top-seeded and undefeated Parker will face No. 4 Arlington at 6 p.m.
Herreid-Selby Area will face Timber Lake in the consolation semifinals at 1:45 p.m. today.
Lyman will meet Andes Central in the first game of the day at noon.
Scores from the opening round can be found in the Sports Stats section.
For the complete article see the 11-16-2012 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-16-2012 paper.
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