Miller finishes fourth in Class A tourney
RAPID CITY — After surviving against a much-taller Wagner team in the first round in five sets, the Miller Rustlers faced two more teams with a significant size advantage, with Rapid City Christian sweeping Friday in the semifinals and the Dell Rapids Lady Quarriers using their size to sweep the Rustlers in the third place match Saturday in the Class A State Volleyball Tournament at Summit Arena in Rapid City.
Set scores for the Lady Quarriers, who move to 28-7, were 25-15, 25-20, and 25-21.
The two teams went back and forth to open the first set until 6’2” junior middle hitter Laryn Kloth went back to serve. She rattled off three straight aces at one point during a 6-0 Dell Rapids run.
From that point, the Lady Quarriers kept the Rustlers at bay behind big hitting from Kloth and freshman outside hitter Madelynn Henry as well as elite serving, recording four aces as a team in the first set and consistently putting the Rustlers out of system with aggressive serves.
After the Rustlers were able to get the score within 10 at 22-13 on a Paige Werdel kill, Elin Schoenhard of Dell Rapids slammed down the next Miller hit attempt, and the Rustlers were only able to get a pair of errors by Dell Rapids for scoring the rest of the way as the Lady Quarriers closed out a 25-15 set win.
Dell Rapids came out fast in the second set, using a pair of aces from Schoenhard as part of a 4-0 run to open the set. Strong defense got the Rustlers back within 4-3, but then Kloth and Henry began to put the Rustlers out of system again, pushing the lead out to 8-3 before Miller coach Linda DeBoer called timeout.
Henry keyed a 5-2 run for the Lady Quarriers to build a 13-5 lead at the media timeout.
Setter Sophi Randall nailed two kills out of the break for Dell Rapids, using quick sets to catch the Rustlers out of position. The teams swapped errors to get eh lead out to 17-7 for Dell Rapids.
At that point, the Miller passing significantly improved, which forced the Lady Quarriers into some hitting errors and allowed the Rustlers to make a late run, using a pair of Jolie Palmer aces and strong defense to go on a 6-0 run to get within 21-17.
Randall took over at that point for Dell Rapids, with sharp passes and a pair of tip kills to fluster the Miller defense as the Lady Quarriers closed out the set 25-20.
Miller’s Jolie Palmer passes the ball during the semifinals of the Class A State Volleyball Tournament on Friday in Summit Arena at the Monument in Rapid City. She was named to the Class A All-Tournament Team for the Rustlers.
A kill from Aleah Schlechter to open the third set gave the Rustlers a 1-0 lead, Miller’s first lead of the entire match, but the Lady Quarriers then used more aggressive serving and a pair of Kloth kills to go on a 7-1 run, drawing an early DeBoer timeout.
After a Schoenhard kill at the net for Dell Rapids and a block by Randall, the Rustlers went on a 6-1 run behind strong directional hitting by Schlechter and Kate Lichty.
Kloth and Schlechter exchanged kills, with Schlechter nailing a directional kill to the corner to get within 15-14. A trade of hitting errors and a Paige Werdel kill knotted the set at 16-all.
A hitting error and an ace from Schlechter put the Rustlers up 18-16 and drew a timeout from Dell Rapids.
A series of long rallies ensued, with neither team really getting an edge at the net, as the Lady Quarriers length and the Rustler’s technical excellence matched up well up to the point where the set was tied 20-20.
A pair of errors by the Rustlers gave Dell Rapids a two-point lead, drawing DeBoer’s final timeout. Miller setter Heather Resel got a quick-set kill out of the timeout, but that was it for the Rustlers as Dell Rapids finished out the set and the match with a Randall kill at the net to take the third set 25-21 and the match in straight sets.
Dell Rapids was led on the attack by Henry with 12 kills and Kloth with 10 kills. Randall had 22 assists, seven kills, 13 digs, and was part of five blocks.
Alaina Wolff led the Dell Rapids defense with 14 digs.
Miller finishes the year 29-8. Jolie Palmer led the defense with 15 digs and also had three service aces. Aleah Schlechter had seven kills to lead the Rustler attack.
Paige Werdel had five kills and Gracen Werdel added a pair of service aces. Heather Resel set up the Rustler offense with 21 assists and added 10 digs.
Jolie Palmer was the lone Rustler on the all-tournament team.