Miller secures berth in Class A state tourney
HURON — The Miller Rustlers are headed back to the Class “A” State Volleyball tournament, after a workmanlike 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-12) win over the Flandreau Fliers Tuesday evening at Huron Arena.
Miller will take a 28-6 record into next week’s state tournament in Rapid City, while Flandreau sees its season end with a record of 18-10. The Rustlers are seeded third for the state tournament and will face the Wagner Red Raiders (26-6) in the final game of the opening round, after Wagner outlasted Mobridge 3-2 in their SoDak 16 game.
The teams played cautiously to start the match, as Miller used the one-two punch of Aleah Schlechter and Paige Werdel to counter the height and swinging power of Flandreau’s 6-foot, 1-inch Claire Sheppard.
A 4-0 run early in the set, led by Sheppard and Lizzie Pavlis turned a Flier deficit into a two-point lead.
Miller was plagued by hitting errors until the midway point of the game, when a kill by Schlechter ignited a rally for the Rustlers. Kate Lichty and Shaylee Anderberg each contributed kills and another kill by Schlechter made it 16-14 and prompted a timeout by Flandreau coach Julia Fargen.
The momentum had firmly switched, however, as a hitting error on the Fliers, combined with two straight aces by Miller libero Jolie Palmer and a Werdel kill pushed the lead to 20-14 and the Rustlers held serve for the 1-0 advantage.
The Rustlers started the second set on a 5-0 run, forcing a quick timeout by Fargen, however the timeout again couldn’t stop the Miller express. Kills by Anderberg and Schlechter, combined with a handful of Flier miscues quickly pushed the lead to 13-6 after a Lichty block-kill and the lead continued to build, growing to double digits, at 19-9.
But the Fliers got a bit back at the end. Facing set point at 24-11, Flandreau rallied for five straight points, on kills from Pavlis and Lily Klein, and causing Miller coach Linda DeBoer to call a timeout to get her team a breather.
Out of the break, Abby Schoeberl collected a kill for Flandreau, but Schlechter closed the deal for the Rustlers in the 25-16 win.
Miller played very efficiently through the first two sets, playing solid defense and making the most of nearly every offensive opportunity, as the Rustlers flowed through setter Heather Resel. Flandreau had spurts of good play, but found many of their kill attempts being blocked back by the Miller front line, or more often, sailing long and out of play.
In the third set, with the score knotted at 3-3, Schlechter and Gracen Werdel got kills and the Fliers began what became a bad habit of hitting errors in the set. In all, 13 of Miller’s 25 points in the deciding set came on hitting errors by Flandreau, and the Rustlers were able to celebrate their return to the State A Tournament.
Schlechter had 12 kills to lead the Rustlers, who got nine kills from Paige Werdel, six from Lichty and five from Anderberg. Palmer had three aces in the match.
The Fliers were led by Sheppard’s seven kills, while Pavlis added six in the match.
Warner 3, Tripp-Delmont/Armour 0
The Warner Monarchs will carry an unblemished 37-0 record into next week’s Class B State Volleyball tournament, after a systematic 25-9, 25-11, 25-6 dismantling of the Tripp-Delmont/Armour Nighthawks in a SoDak 16 match, held at Huron Arena.
Kyleigh Schopp and Lauren Marcuson did most of the heavy lifting at the net for the Monarchs, who will carry the No. 1 seed into the “B,” set for Nov. 16-18 at the Monument in Rapid City.
No team or individual statistics were available for the match.