FORT PIERRE – The Winner Warriors claimed the Region 6A volleyball championship Tuesday night advancing to the next round of the state playoffs.
The Warriors (25-3) defeated the Miller Rustlers (20-9) in four sets 21-25, 25-19, 25-9 and 25-16.
The Warriors came into the night the top seed looking for redemption after being bumped from the playoffs last year in a five-set heartbreaker to Pine Ridge.
“The win feels pretty good. Unfinished business has been our motto from last year - we wanted to be region champs and the girls worked hard all year for this,” coach Jaime Keiser said.
Miller won the first set behind strong play from Kristen Peterka and Jamie Mentzer. The set seesawed until Miller went on a late five-point run to lead 20-17. Peterka led the Rustlers with four kills in the set.
The nip-and-tuck battle continued in the second set. Kennede Mathis and Sara Husher strung together four kills mid-set to pull away, but Miller reeled the Warriors back in. Cassidy Hanson responded with three powerful kills to stretch the lead back to five before teammate Tawney Sherman finished the Rustlers off.
“We were playing scared and letting them take control right away. I think after the first game we got the nerves out and started playing our game,” Keiser said.
Winner dominated the third set winning 25-9. Hanson, Mathis and Sherman unleashed a series of shots that tested the Rustlers’ defense.
“We moved the ball around because all our girls can hit,” Keiser said. “We needed to make them move so they didn’t know where we were going.”
Up two sets, Winner had the momentum. Peterka’s kills got Miller going in the fourth set, but the Rustlers found it increasingly difficult to handle the Warriors’ serves and set up their offense.
“Serve-receive and passing was a big part of the game. I thought our best part of the game was our serving at them,” Keiser said.
Tied 15-15, the Warriors continued to set up Hanson whose big swing put the set out of reach.
The Warriors will put the celebration behind them as they take their next step in an already successful season.
“I’m guessing we’ll either see Wagner or Plankinton,” Keiser said.
For the complete article see the 11-13-2013 issue.
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