By Kristan Krogman
The District volleyball tournament didn’t lack for excitement this year as the Lady Tigers travelled to Kadoka November 5 for semi-final action against Jones County. (The Lady Tigers won by forfeit in round one over Crazy Horse.)
Jones County got the best of the Tigers in both sets one and two. The Coyotes held the lead through all of set one, and scored the final five points for the 25-15 win. White River led early and kept it close with multiple ties throughout in the second set. Rachel Astleford had her team on top 19-17 with back to back winners, but it was the serving of Jones County with four critical aces at crunch time that put White River down 25-20 and 2-0 in the match.
Senior Dusti Good Shield came to life in set three and the momentum gradually shifted as White River got rolling. Good Shield scored with regularity, hitting for kills and recording more than one ace block. Astleford, too, was big for White River. She was an imposing presence in the middle and kept Jones County off kilter with a number of scoring blocks. The Tigers took set three 25-17.
Facing another must win in set four, the Tigers clung to the lead as their confidence and energy grew with every point. They tallied 16 winners to just 7 for Jones County in the set. Elizabeth Cameron and Courtney Charging combined for six aces, three in a row by Charging Hawk at one point forced Jones County into a time out at 13-6. Casey Fairbanks also added an ace and points by Julia LeBoeuf and Mariah Marshall, in addition to winners by Good Shield and Astleford, had everybody involved. The Tigers rolled to a 25-11 set four win.
Jones County continued to struggle, though it took a White River time out to get the Tigers going in the deciding set. Down 0-3, Astleford got the Tigers on the board with a kill. Good Shield scored an ace, Cameron a kill, and Astleford another kill, to give the Tigers their first lead of set five, 4-3. They maintained their lead in the minutes that followed and a Good Shield kill gave the third seeded Lady Tigers the mini-upset over second rated Jones County, 15-11.
Top seeded and defending champion Lyman awaited the Tigers in Thursday’s championship match.
White River was amped for the opportunity to advance, and they led or faced a tie score on the first twelve points of the game. The Raiders had the benefit of five aces through the set, the final on the last point to take the 25-21 win. Top plays for White River included a cross court winner by Good Shield at 11-13, an extended point at 14-17 that saw Astleford working the net for multiple blocks and the final kill, and a down the line winner by Marshall that drew the Tigers to within one, 20-21.
Anna Flitner got Lyman off to a good start with three early kills in set two. She paced a strong Lyman frontline and finished the match with 16 kills. White River never recovered from the poor start and set two went to Lyman 25-14.
Set three featured ten ties with the Tigers leading or tied on 70% of the points. They faced their first deficit at 6-7 but regained the lead at 10-9 on a Good Shield kill. After trailing again momentarily, a kill by Cameron made it 15 all. The Lady Tigers largest lead of the set came at 18-15 on an ace by Fairbanks. The Lady Tigers led 20-18 at one point, but Lyman never wavered. They scored seven of the next eight points and recorded the 25-21 advantage for a straight sets win.