No. 1 Washington defeats Tigers in AA

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SDPB Above: Huron’s Heaven Gainey spikes the ball in a match against Sioux Falls Washington during the opening round of the Class AA State Volleyball Tournament on Friday in Summit Arena at The Monument in Rapid City. Below: 1) Huron’s Brynn Gose digs the ball as teammate Reese Rozell looks on during a match against Sioux Falls Washington during the opening round of the Class AA State Volleyball Tournament on Friday in Summit Arena at The Monument in Rapid City. 2) Huron’s Reese Rozell passes the ball during Thursday’s match against Sioux Falls Washington.

RAPID CITY — Early deficits in each of the four sets prevented Huron from getting the push it needed to pull off the upset against top-seeded Sioux Falls Washington in the opening round of the Class AA State Volleyball Tournament on Thursday.

The Warriors, who have not been beaten by another South Dakota school this season, used set scores of 25-27, 25-10, 25-14 and 25-14 to get past the eighth-seeded Tigers in Summit Arena at The Monument.

“Instead of playing like they were going for the win, we were playing tight,” Huron coach Josh Lien said.

After falling behind 6-1 in the opening set, Huron rallied to even the score at 15-15 and was able to build a 17-15 advantage before the Warriors an 8-3 run to move within a point of claiming the first set at 24-20.

A kill from Emily Dale, which was sandwiched between kills by Reese Rozell pulled the Tigers even at 24-24 in the opening set.

After Washington went back in front by a point, Huron rattled off three straight points to take a 1-0 lead in the match with a 27-25 win. Dale pulled the Tigers even with a kill, before Brynn Gose hammered one to the floor to put them in front. Dale capped the comeback with a block kill.

The loss seemed to have woke the sleeping giant, as the Warriors used a 7-1 run to open the second set and never looked back from. They rattled off five unanswered points to build a 16-6 advantage and led by as many as 14 points before evening the match with a 25-10 win in the second set.

Washington built a 4-0 lead to start the third set and then rattled off seven unanswered points to stake at 12-3 lead. The lead swelled into double figures moments later and remained their for the remainder of the third set, which ended with the Warriors winning 25-14.

Huron’s most promising start of the match came in the fourth set, where it took a 3-2 lead on a tip kill by Rozell. Although the Tigers were able to hold close for a few more points, Washington six straight points to open a 12-5 lead.

The lead for the Warriors would never get under five points for the rest of the set as they earned a spot in the semifinals with a 25-14 win in the final set and a 3-1 decision in the match.

“Our hitters didn’t have many opportunities and were too careful with the ones they did have,” Lien said.

Joslyn Richardson, who is a 5-foot-10 outside hitter, propelled Washington with 24 kills. Shelby Kinzer and Ellie Walker added 11 and nine kills, respectively.

“Washington did a nice job of serving,” Lien said. “Richardson and Kinzer kind of took it to us.”

The Warriors amassed 11 ace serves in the match with three each coming from Macie Malchow and Walker. Malchow also had a team-high 50 assists, while Jadyn Schetnan recorded 21 digs.

Dale led Huron with 14 kills, while Gose and Rozell had eight and five kills, respectively.

“Emily played well in the front,” Lien said. “We just weren’t able to get it to her enough.”

The Tigers had just one ace in the match, with Bryn Huber having that. She also tallied a team-high 16 digs, while Rozell had 12 digs.

Hamtyn Heinz led Huron with 30 assists in the match, while Heaven Gainey had three solo and an assisted block.

Washington, which improved to 29-1, will face fourth-seeded Brandon Valley in a semifinals at 7 p.m., today.

Huron, which is now 14-11, will face fifth-seeded Pierre, which was edged 3-2 in the opening round, in the consolation semifinals at 1 p.m., today.

The two teams are 1-1 against each other this season with the Tigers recording a 3-1 win in the most recent meeting with Pierre.

“We have to put ourselves in the position we want to be on Saturday,” Lien said.

The winner of today’s match moves into the consolation title match at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, while the loser will play for seventh-place at 10 a.m. Saturday.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SDPB Above: Huron’s Heaven Gainey spikes the ball in a match against Sioux Falls Washington during the opening round of the Class AA State Volleyball Tournament on Friday in Summit Arena at The Monument in Rapid City. Below: 1) Huron’s Brynn Gose digs the ball as teammate Reese Rozell looks on during a match against Sioux Falls Washington during the opening round of the Class AA State Volleyball Tournament on Friday in Summit Arena at The Monument in Rapid City. 2) Huron’s Reese Rozell passes the ball during Thursday’s match against Sioux Falls Washington.

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