O'Gorman sweeps Tigers in Class AA opener

COURTESY OF SDPB Above: Huron’s Emma Ross serves during a match against O’Gorman in the opening round of the Class AA State Volleyball Tournament on Thursday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. Before: Huron’s Olivia Rink passes the ball during a match against O’Gorman in the opening round of the Class AA State Volleyball Tournament on Thursday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.

SIOUX FALLS - While the O’Gorman Lady Knights may be the second seed in the Class AA tournament, they may be the favorite at this year’s tournament, and the Huron Tigers found out why Thursday night as the Knight swept the Tigers in opening round action at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

Set scores for the Knights were 25-14, 25-19, and 25-18.

O’Gorman leaned on seniors Bergen Reilly and Brogan Beck to open the first set as the two recorded two kills apiece and the Knights opened the set 4-0.

A pair of kills and an ace from Heavan Gainey, a kill from setter Hamtyn Heinz, and hitting errors by O’Gorman allowed the Tigers to climb back to 6-5, but then O’Gorman went on a 4-0 run, drawing the first timeout from Huron coach Joshua Lien.

The Tigers were able to use a pair of Karsyn Kopfmann kills and a Gainey kill to get the lead back down to three at 13-10, but that was as close as things would get.

The lead was pushed out to as much as 20-11 before three straight hitting errors by O’Gorman brought the Tigers to 20-14, but from that point, the Knights got a pair of service aces and a pair of kills from Reilly to close out the first set 25-14.

After the Tigers sent the first serve of the second set long, Reilly nailed a cross-court kill to give the Knights a quick 2-0 lead.

The Tigers were able to get the Knights out of system for a brief moment and gain their first lead of the match at 3-2. after a pair of O’Gorman hitting errors.

The Knights responded quickly, as setter Brooke Harvison spread the ball among hitters. Beck nailed two kills, then Maggie Noonan got a hit down the middle and Keira McManus was set up with a hit from the outside.

After an ace from Meghan Tiahrt, the Lady Knights were up 11-7 and drew the first timeout from Lien of the set.

The Tigers responded well out of the set initially, going on a 3-0 run, but then immediately, the Knights went on a 3-0 run, drawing Lien’s second timeout.

The Tigers did shift their defense of the Knight attack, which led to longer rallies, though the talent of the O’Gorman hitters continued to eventually wear through.

A pair of Gainey kills got the momentum swung toward Huron late in the set, but the emotion sent the next two hits sailing long, and that ended the set 25-19 in favor of O’Gorman, giving them a 2-0 match lead.

The Tigers opened the third set using their late adjustment in set two to really make waves. The Knights were committing hitting errors and the Tigers were able to get Brynn Gose into better positions for kills early on, opening a 7-4 lead.

The Knights battled back, tying the match at 7-7 ,but that’s when Heavan Gainey got a kill to start the biggest Tiger run of the evening.

Aggressive defense put the O’Gorman attack into the net twice and Gainey recorded an ace to push the Huron lead to 11-7 and force the first timeout from O’Gorman.

The Tiger run was not done, however. Coming out of the timeout, the Knights put the ball into the net on the attack, Elin Schoenhard and Gose combined for a big block, and Heinz slapped back an over pass for a kill to give the Tigers a seven-point lead at 14-7.

That was the last high-point for the Tigers, however.

The Lady Knights went on a 12-1 run that ate up both Huron timeouts and saw Reilly’s hitting come alive, as she scored three kills during the run.

The Tigers were able to get a kill from Kopfmann that ended the run and a hitting error from O’Gorman that brought the Tigers within three at 21-18, but O’Gorman closed on a 4-0 run to claim the set 25-18 and the match in straight sets.

Lien had nothing but praise for the Lady Knights.

“That’s a special team. They did a nice job coming after us, forcing adjustments out of us,” Lien stated. “We had too big of a mountain tonight. When they were in system, they’re really tough to beat.”

The Lady Knights move to 26-4 behind 20 kills from Reilly. Beck added 12 kills.

Meghan Tiahrt had three service aces for O’Gorman while Gabby Jones led the defense with 23 digs.

Huron fell to 18-10 despite 10 kills from Gainey. She also had three service aces.

Gose and Heinz each had four kills. Bryn Huber led the Tiger defense with 19 digs.

Huron will play Sioux Falls Lincoln at 1:15 p.m., today

Coach Lien is hopeful his team can finish the season strong.

“We need to have a strong finish tomorrow to see if we can find ourselves in that consolation championship,” Lien emphasized.


More In Sports