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Warner looking for repeat of 2012 success: However, plenty talent lurking in Class B bracket

Modified: Friday, Nov 22nd, 2013

A pair of Warner players go for a ball during practice Wednesday at Huron Arena. Warner is one of eight teams in town for the South Dakota High School Activities Association Class B State Tournament which begins at noon today. PHOTO BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN

HURON — The Warner Monarchs will be looking to repeat as state champions during the 2013 State Volleyball Tournament, which gets under way today at Huron Arena.

Top-seeded Warner (30-1) will open its title defense against No. 8 Herreid/Selby Area (20-11) at noon. In the other opening-round matchups, fourth-seeded Alcester-Hudson (30-2) will face No. 5 Harding County (26-5) at 1:45 p.m.; third-seeded Chester Area (26-2) will play No. 6 Lyman (24-8) at 6 p.m.; and second-seeded Arlington (31-1) battles No. 7 Kimball/White Lake (19-7) at 7:45 p.m.

Here is a look at the team’s involved in this year’s tourney:

Warner (30-1)

The Monarchs defeated Arlington for the Class B title in 2012 and will be seeking their third state title in the past fire years.

Warner’s lone loss this season came against Sioux Falls O’Gorman, which is the top-seed for this year’s Class AA State Tournament.

“Even though we lost, it was a great match for us to see some of our weaknesses and what we really needed to continue to work on, to improve our game,” Warner coach Kari Jung said.

The opening-round match against Herreid/Selby Area will be a rematch of a regular season meeting for the Monarchs.

“They had several players hurt or injured during that match,” Jung said. “We know we will need to stop Biel at the net in order to beat them.”

Overall, Jung knows her team will need to put three solid matches together to emerge with a second title in as many years.

“There is a great field of teams this year and everyone has the same goal,” she said. “We are just going to prepare for one match at a time and try to play focused and consistent each match.”

Ashley Rozell has been the offensive leader this season from her setter spot for Warner, while Kaitlyn Boesl has led the team defensively as the libero.

The 2013 roster for the Monarchs features four sets of sisters, Carly and Ashley Rozell; Taylor, Peyton and Logan Ellingson; Kaitlyn and Alexis Boesl; and Sidney and MaKenzie Bierman.

Arlington (31-1)

The Cardinals are making their fifth consecutive trip to the Class B State Tournament. They have reached the title match in each of their last four trips, winning state title in 2010.

The only blemish during the 2013 campaign for Arlington came against top-seeded Warner. The Cardinals won the Lake Preston and Parkston tournament during the regular season.

Arlington will open the tourney against Kimball/White Lake.

“We know Kimball/White Lake has a strong team, and we look forward to playing them in the first round,” Arlington coach Anita Boeck said.

Many are looking for Arlington to meet up with Warner in a rematch of last season’s title match.

“As always, it is exciting to earn the opportunity to compete in the state tournament,” Boeck said. “Just as we have all season, our plan is to take one match at a time and play the best volleyball we can here at the end.”

Seniors Brianne Chrisensen, Brooklyn Judstra, Brooke Hennrich, Samantha Boeck, Brett Heuer and Janae Sampson have amply filled the leadership roles this season for the Cardinals, according to Boeck.

“Last year we had no seniors, and this year we have six,” she said. “They have looked forward to this opportunity for a long time, and I know they are ready to capture this moment.”

Chester Area (26-2)

The Flyers, who will be making their first appearance in the state tournament since 2008, opened the season with 20 straight wins. Their first setback came against Elkton-Lake Benton, with the second coming in a 5-set decision to Arlington.

Chester Area claimed the Big East Conference regular season and tournament championships this season in addition to winning the Pentagon Tournament in Sioux Falls.

The Flyers will face Lyman in the opening round.

“Lyman will enter the state tournament with an advantage in the experience department,” Chester Area coach Jean Benson said. “We have a solid group of senior leaders, but are new to the state tournament atmosphere.”

The Flyers are hoping to overcome some possible early jitters and settle in for a strong run, according to Benson.

“We have started to play our best volleyball right now,” she said. “Hopefully, we will continue to improve and play well at the state tournament.”

The Chester Area roster features six seniors — Erin Benson, Logan Miller, Mackenzie Alverson, Elena Borah, Rachel Reiff and Brionna DeVries.

“We have great senior leaders. Some of them are quiet leaders and some are not, some are huge floor leaders and some are not,” Benson said. “These girls play for each other every time they take the court and they are a special group of young ladies.”

Alcester-Hudson (30-2)

The Cubs are making their first state tournament appearance in more than a decade. They last reached the state tourney in 2002, when they finished third in Class A

Alcester-Hudson put together an 18-match winning streak during the regular season. Its only setbacks came against Dakota Valley and Wagner, which both are Class A schools.

Filling leadership roles this season for the Cubs were seniors Skylar McConnell, Jamie Jansen, Lindsey Terpstra, Shenia Doering, Courtney McKee, Bailey Gustner and Kassie VanWyk.

Harding County (26-5)

The Ranchers will be seeking their third Class B championship in their first tourney appearance since 2010.

Harding County won its first title in the winter of 2002 and then claimed its second championship in the fall of 2002, when volleyball switched to a fall sport.

After winning the conference tournament and the Wall Tournament, the Ranchers needed to survive a scare in the district tournament to prolong their season. They faced a 2-0 deficit against Lemmon before rallying to claim a 3-2 victory, with the fourth set ending with a 28-26 score.

Harding County will open the tourney against Alcester-Hudson.

“It should be a tough match,” Harding County coach Tammy Bruha said. “Alcester-Hudson is very scrappy and a well-balanced team.

The Ranchers are led by seniors Sierra Stugelmeyer and Bryce Olson, who both play middle hitter. Stugelmeyer has team-high totals of 339 kills and 110 blocks.

Other key players for Harding County include, junior Megan Adams, junior Cassidy Gilbert, junior Callie Shepherd and freshman Kasey Teigen.

Adams has recorded 186 kills from an outside hitter spot, while Gilbert leads the team with 94 aces.

Shepherd is the team leader in assists with 493, while Teigen has a team-high 408 digs.

Lyman (24-8)

The Raiders are coming off an eighth-place finish in last year’s state tournament, which was its first tourney appearance in 17 years.

Lyman won eight of its first nine matches and put together three four-match winning streaks during the season.

The Raiders will face Chester Area in the opening round.

“We know they are a very powerful team,” Lyman coach Jill Whalen said. “We are looking to prepare as best as we can for the Chester matchup and be very competitive with a very good team.”

Whalen is hoping the experience her team gained from last year’s state tournament will pay some dividends at this year’s event.

“Last year we had just a taste of what the state tournament was all about, but this year our girls are very focused on setting goals to accomplish while they are there,” she said. “As a team, we are looking forward to some tough competition and being able to play some of the best teams in the state.”

Lyman returned its entire roster from last season and has five seniors, who have filled leadership roles this season — Anna Flitner (middle hitter/back row), Jessica Welter (middle hitter), Bailey Almond (setter), Haley Halverson (right-side hitter) and Bailey Lulf (right-side hitter).

“Anna leads us in stats and vocally on the court,” Whalen said. “Welter has really started to play consistently well for us at the end of the season and Bailey is a very smart setter who can make some great things happen for us as a setter and a server.

“We really depend on them to be solid blockers,” she said of Halverson and Lulf. “They also do a great job with their hitting choices when we need them to.”

Kimball-White Lake (19-7)

The Wildkats will be making their first trip to the state tournament as a co-op. Kimball’s last trip was in 2008 to cap a four-year run, while White Lake has never qualified for the state tourney.

“Making it to state says a lot about our girls’ commitment to not only volleyball, but to the co-op itself,” Kimball-White Lake coach Sarah Deffenbaugh said. “We had several obstacles this season as we had new personnel, new coaches and new defensive and offensive systems. They adjusted, adapted and worked really well together.”

Kimball-White Lake capped the regular season by winning seven of its final eight matches, which included a victory against Parkston.

“Our biggest win of the season, the one that really showed the girls they could compete, was Parkston,” Deffenbaugh said. “I think that win opened their eyes and gave them a whole new focus.”

The Wildkats draw the unenviable task of facing second-seeded Arlington in the opening round.

“Arlington has such a strong program and their kids know how to win. They are well disciplined and play really good defense,” Deffenbaugh said. “They don’t make a lot of mistakes and Samantha Boeck is one of the best players in Class B volleyball.

“I think we match up with Arlington pretty well. They aren’t really a tall team, and neither are we,” she said. “We pride ourselves on defense and having balance at the net. There isn’t one player that stands out as our go to player. All five hitters on our team can have big hits any place on the court. We are excited for the challenge of the state tournament and going into our first match as underdogs makes us dangerous.”

Kimball-White Lake has some lofty goals it will be looking to accomplish.

“Our goal is to make some noise at the state volleyball tournament,” Deffenbaugh said. “I think our draw for the tournament looks good. We just want to see what we can do against some of the best teams in the state.”

Depth has been a big key this season for the Wildkats, who have a rotation consisting of 10 players.

“It’s hard to watch our team and see one player standout.”

Filling key roles this season for Kimball-White Lake have been seniors Mary Kroupa (setter), Jazmyn Hinker (outside hitter) and Anna Pazour (defensive specialist), along with junior Haley Pazour (outside hitter), junior Emily Sinclair (defensive specialist/right-side hitter), sophomore Ivy Haiines (middle hitter) and freshman Brooklyn Donald (middle hitter).

“Mary Kroupa and Jazmyn Hinker feed off of each other to lead our team. They tend to be the big voices on the court,” Deffenbaugh said. “Ivy Hains is our leader in blocks and hitting percentage, while Haley Pazour is our leader in kills.

“Anna Pazour and Emily Sinclair lead our team in the back row. Both are good passers and they read hitters really well,” she said. “Brooklyn Donald is really coming into her own this season. She hits with accuracy and now is putting power into it as well.”

Herreid/Selby Area (20-11)

The Wolverines, who combined forces in 2010, are making their third straight trip to the state tournament.

Herreid/Selby Area was hit hard by injuries and illness and was unable to get off to the start it had hoped for this season. After getting off to a 13-11 start, the Wolverines closed the season with a seven-match winning streak.

“I feel we are peaking at the right time and playing some of our best volleyball right now,” Herreid/Selby Area coach Jody Schmidt said.

The Wolverines will open the tourney against top-seeded Warner.

“Warner is a volleyball powerhouse,” Schmidt said. “Our goal is to work hard and do the best job we can to put some points on the board.”

Schmidt is hoping her team will be able to draw on some of its past experience at the state tourney to find some success during the three-day event.

“It goes without saying that every coach wants to win some games at the state tournament. They work toward this goal the entire season. My team is now different,” she said. “They have been there before, so I think they will put forth a solid effort each time they take the floor. We are feeling blessed and hope to represent our district and region in the best way possible.”

Serving as leaders this season for Wolverines have been seniors Haylee Biel (captain), Kelsey Quaschnick (captain), Grace Russell and McKenzie Reierson, along with juniors Abbey Fjeldheim (captain), Jana Thorstenson and Paige Feist.

“Haylee is our offensive leader, while Kelsey and Abbey run the defense,” Schmidt said.

For the complete article see the 11-21-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-21-2013 paper.

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