RAPID CITY — “Tradition Never Graduates” is the theme for the Huron volleyball team as it makes its fourth consecutive trip to the Class AA State Tournament, which gets under way today at Rapid City Central High School.
The Tigers carry the No. 6 seed into the tournament with a 14-9 record and will face third-seeded Sioux Falls Roosevelt, which is 21-5, at 6 p.m., MST.
“No. 1, we’re super happy to be in the state tournament, no matter where we are seeded,” Huron coach Shelly Buddenhagen said. “It allows us to extend our season and play for a state championship.”
Top-seeded Sioux Falls O’Gorman (20-2) will face No. 8 Watertown (9-14) in the opening match of the first round at noon, MST, followed by fourth-seeded Sioux Falls Washington (21-5) against No. 5 Mitchell (15-8) at 1:45 p.m., MST. The final match of the first round will feature second-seeded Aberdeen Central (19-2) and No. 7 Rapid City Stevens (15-13) at 7:45 p.m., MST.
“It’s a fantastic field of volleyball teams,” Buddenhagen said. “Any team can put a good tournament together and win a state title. The three favorites are O’Gorman, Aberdeen Central and Roosevelt, but anything can happen.”
Huron could be considered as one of the most dangerous teams to face in the tournament, as the Tigers have recorded wins during the regular season against two of the five teams seeded above them.
“Sometimes people don’t know how we’re going to play,” Buddenhagen said. “Offensively, we can be unpredictable. We get the ball to Katelyn (Allerdings) who is tough to block and stop, but we’re not one dimensional.”
Buddenhagen says her team has elected to take the one-match-at-a-time approach rather than entering the tournament with a goal of finishing in a certain spot.
“We just want to go play as hard as we can and let the chips fall where they may,” she said. “We haven’t really defined our goal as far as the big picture is concerned. We want to go have fun and play.”
In facing Roosevelt, the Tigers will be meeting a team they did not see during the regular season. However, Buddenhagen knows they will need to be up for the challenge.
“Roosevelt is tall, big and powerful,” she said. “And they serve really tough, so we’ll have our hands full. We want to slow down their hitters and serve tough to get them out of system.”
Win or lose, Huron will face either district-rival Aberdeen Central or Rapid City Stevens on Friday. A loss today sends the Tigers into a consolation game at 1:45 p.m., MST, while a win will set up a semi-final match at 7:45 p.m., MST.
The final round is slated for Saturday, with the seventh-place match to begin at noon, MST, followed by the consolation championship at 1:45 p.m., MST. The third-place match is slated for 6 p.m., MST, followed by the championship match at 8 p.m., MST.
For the complete article see the 11-15-2012 issue.
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