By Kristan Krogman
The White River Lady Tiger volleyball team has had an up and down few weeks of play with three wins and two losses through that span.
The Tigers hosted Pine Ridge and Kadoka in a triangular September 26.
The varsity played some of their best volleyball of the year in the opening match versus Pine Ridge. The Lady Thorpes came in with a record of 8-1, and were consistently receiving votes in the Class A rankings poll. White River took a close first game 25-22, setting the tone for the games to follow.
Pine Ridge got the early lead in set two, with a number of unforced errors from the Tigers. Dusti Good Shield and Rachel Astleford recorded back to back winners, drawing their team to within one, 9-10. Moments later, Courtney Charging Hawk had the Tigers up 12-10 with an ace. The Thorpes took the lead momentarily at 20-19 after a string of aces, though White River responded and a Lizzy Cameron ace returned the lead to White River 21-20. The Tigers won set two 25-21.
Pine Ridge seemed out of their element, trailing 2-0 going into the 3rd. Astleford and Good Shield led a fired up White River team that found the lead in set three and never looked back. The Lady Tigers largest lead of the set was five, 20-15 at one point. Pine Ridge rallied over the next minutes, tying the game at 21 with an ace. Good Shield had an ace to bring on match point, 24-22, and a miss by the Lady Thorpes two points later gave the Lady Tigers a big 3-0 victory. The Thorpes have since gone unbeaten with a record that stood at 12-2 as of Monday, including a win over Custer who handed them their only other loss of the season.
The Lady Tiger game versus Kadoka followed, and it took some time for the girls to find their focus after the excitement of the win over Pine Ridge. Kadoka got the early lead and it wasn’t until Julia LeBoeuf pounded a kill and Astleford scored an ace that the Lady Tigers were back in it with a tie game 17-17. Though they never managed a lead, a Charging Hawk kill late in the set tied the score at 22. Kadoka put an end to the first set, 25-22 with back to back winners.
Behind the serving of Good Shield, the Lady Tigers built a 5-0 lead in set two. Astleford and Charging Hawk hit back to back aces later in the set and a big hit for a kill by Good Shield was a highlight at 23-21. Astleford ended the set with a kill at 25-22 to tie the match, one all.
Sets three and four were similar in score with both teams adding to their total. Kadoka took set three 25-17, White River bounced back, winning set four 25-16.
Setter Casey Fairbanks got the Lady Tigers on the board first in set five with a well placed tip that found the floor. The points continued to roll in from there for White River, with Kadoka Area experiencing a plethora of misses. Astleford had back to back aces at 13-2 and after a momentary lapse, the Tigers put the game away, 15-5, on a Good Shield kill.
As the Lady Tigers took care of business on the north court, the Lady Tiger JV team put together a pair of wins on the south court. Pine Ridge won the first set before good serving lifted the Tigers to a second set victory. Morgan Venard finished the game with back to back aces for a 25-13 win. The Lady Tigers led throughout set three. Edda Castaway recorded aces on back to back points, 13-6 and 14-6, setting up match point. The final score of the set was 15-7.
It took some time for the Lady Tigers to get going in set one versus Kadoka, but a string of ace serves by Emma Twite, aces on four of five serves, broke the game open. Sidney Bechtold followed with consecutive winners and the Lady Tigers possessed control, 16-8. A Morgan Taft kill later pushed the Tiger lead to double digits, and it was a tip by Venard that scored the Lady Tigers a first set victory, 25-14. The Lady Tigers trailed early in set two. It was the serving of Twite, though again, that turned things around. She hit three consecutive aces to tie the game at 8 and soon three consecutive aces by Bechtold gave the Tigers a conservative lead of five, 15-10. Sheigh Lunderman made two big hits for kills at 20-12 and 21-12 and the Lady Tigers were too much for Kadoka Area. White River won in straight sets with a set two final of 25-13.
The Lady Tigers travelled to Gregory October 1 where they lost in four, (8-25) (25-19) (11-25) and (9-25).
Sidney Bechtold led the team with 6 kills, while Rachel Astleford had 5 kills. Defensive specialist Courtney Charging Hawk had 8 digs in the contest.
Tuesday, October 8, again found the Lady Tigers on the road. They were in Mission where they faced Todd County. The Lady Tigers came up with a 4-1 win: (32-34) (25-17) (25-13) (25-17).
“The first set was intense,” said coach Shelbi Pool. “We were down 23-18 and we scored 7 straight points to take the lead 24-23.” From there, the score see-sawed back and forth before the Lady Tigers fell just short in the marathon, 34-32 first set. “The girls picked up some momentum during that first set and we ran with it the rest of the night.”
Astleford had 12 kills in the match and 5 blocks. Good Shield also had a big night with 11 kills. Fairbanks had a total of 24 assists.
“The girls played some of the best defense I have seen them play all year. We moved well as a team and we stayed aggressive. We served much better than we have lately and that made a lot of difference also.”
The JV was also victorious in their match against Todd County. They won 2-1.
The girls faced a tough Winner team on the road Thursday where they fell in straight sets, 15-25, 3-25, 9-25.
The Lady Tigers have one game this week, Pink Night versus Colome on Thursday and then play Chamberlain October 22 for Parent’s Night.
The Lakota Nation Invitational Volleyball Tourney has been rescheduled for Friday, October 25. It will be a one day only tournament.