Rally falls short for Lady Warbirds in opener
RAPID CITY — A rematch of last season’s third place match between the fourth-seeded Burke Lady Cougars and the fifth-seeded Wolsey-Wessington Lady Warbirds fittingly went the full five sets, with Burke coming out top three sets to two in opening round action of the State Class “B” Volleyball Tournament Thursday at Summit Arena in Rapid City.
Set scores for the Lady Cougars, now 32-4, were 25-19, 25-15, 15-25, 23-25, and 15-11.
Burke jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first set before Lady Warbirds’ coach Lindy Uttecht called timeout. The Lady Warbirds got a kill from Tatum Luce and Kailynn Dorris out of the timeout, but Wolsey-Wessington hitting errors would dominate the match as the Lady Warbirds struggled to get into offense.
The Lady Warbirds allowed six straight points via their own hitting error, with a kill from Dorris, Samara Clemente, and Lainey Uttecht keeping the score from getting away.
Burke’s big middle hitters, Paige Bull and Emmie Hausmann began swinging well and pushed the lead out to 13-9 before a Luce kill ended a run.
The Lady Warbirds fought back to within one at 20-19, forcing Burke coach Billy Jo Indahl to a timeout, but the Lady Cougars came out of the timeout swinging, with a pair of aces from Hausmann and a pair of kills from Bull finishing off the match 25-19, with 11 of Burke’s points coming through Lady Warbird hitting or service error.
The Lady Warbirds got a block from Luce and Payton Kemnitz and then a pair of kills from Dorris to jump out to a 3-1 lead in the second set, but then junior hitter Kailee Frank came to life, nailing the next two kills to tie it up.
The Lady Cougars pushed a lead out to 7-4 before Dorris placed a two-hand push shot right on the line and after a pair of Burke hitting errors, Lainey Uttecht nailed a pair of kills to give the Lady Warbirds a 9-7 lead.
Frank ended the run for Wolsey-Wessington with a cross-court kill, beginning a 10-4 run for Burke before Coach Uttecht called a timeout for the Lady ‘Birds.
The Lady Warbirds had been in system throughout most of the second set, but coming out of the timeout, W-W struggled with passing, leading to multiple hitting errors as Burke finished off the second set 25-15 to take a 2-0 match lead.
With their backs against the wall, the Lady Warbirds quickly fell behind 3-1 in the second set. A kill by Dorris would knot the score at four, and the two teams played back and forth for a few points before Wolsey-Wessington took off after the score was tied at six.
Burke called timeout with the Lady Warbirds leading 14-9, but Luce had a brilliantly-placed touch kill fall in right out of the timeout, and another two-hand kill by Dorris made it 17-11.
Hausmann nailed three kills and also had a block that put the Lady Warbirds out of alignment, leading to a hitting error and a 4-0 Burke run to make it 17-15 W-W and draw a timeout from Coach Uttecht.
The Lady Warbirds went on their own 4-0 run out of the timeout to make it 21-15, drawing a timeout from Indahl, but the Lady Warbirds continued strong play out of the timeout, with a Clemente block/kill out of the break and excellent defense that forced two Lady Cougar hitting errors to end the set at 25-15 in favor of the Lady Warbirds.
The fourth set opened with a strong showing by Burke as the first six points were either kills for the Lady Cougars or Burke hitting errors. Dorris earned the first Lady Warbird kill of the set, and Lainey Uttecht nailed back to back kills to knot the score at six.
Emmie Hausmann lined up for a kill out of a Burke timeout and began swinging big for the Lady Cougars, but the Lady Warbirds countered with a balanced hitting attack.
Then Clemente took over at the net. She recorded three kills and her presence led to a hit attempt by Burke to sail long as the Lady Warbirds used a 5-0 run to go up 16-12.
Clemente and Hausmann continued their back and forth at the net until a Clemente hitting error brought Burke within one at 21-20. That’s when Dorris took over, nailing a pair of blocks.
Kendall Uttecht dropped in an ace, but a Bull block and a Lady ‘Bird hitting error brought the score within 24-23. Dorris ended the set with a well-placed tip after a rally between the two teams to give Wolsey-Wessington a 25-23 set win and tie the match.
The 6’1” Bull came out strong to open the fifth set, garnering three kills, two on blocks, and forcing an errant Lady Warbird hit to give Burke an early 4-1 lead and draw a timeout from W-W coach Uttecht.
Frank nailed a pair of kills out of the break, but then Clemente had four straight kills, two on blocks, and her presence on the block forced an errant hit by Burke to allow W-W to knot the score at six and draw a Burke timeout.
Frank came out swinging strong, with three kills in four points for Burke out of the break, and a strong hit by Frank put Wolsey-Wessington out of system and led to a hit into the net, drawing Coach Uttecht’s final timeout of the match, with Burke leading 11-8.
The Lady Warbirds were able to force a Burke hitting error and Lainey Uttecht connected on a big swing to make it 12-10, but the Burke frontline took over from there, with three kills from three different hitters to take the set 15-11 and the match, three sets to two.
Frank led the Burke attack with 20 kills. Hausmann added 17 and Bull had 14 kills. Bull was part of nine blocks (three solo, six assists). Hausmann also had three service aces.
Ava Sargent had 21 assists to pace the Burke offense and also added a pair of service aces. Elle Johnson had 37 digs to led the Lady Cougar defense.
The Lady Warbirds fall to 29-5 despite a match-high 21 kills from Dorris. Clemente added 14 kills while Luce had eight and Lainey Uttecht chipped in seven. Clemente had three blocks and three block assists at the net.
Kendal Uttecht had 27 set assists, and Kemnitz added 23 to pace the offense. They also had the team’s three service aces, with Uttecht claiming two and Kemnitz one.
The Lady Warbird defense was led by the Uttecht sisters, as all three had at least 20 digs. Libero Shae Uttecht led W-W with 25 digs, Lainey added 24, and Kendal had 20.
Burke moves on to face top-ranked Warner in the first match of the Friday evening session. Wolsey-Wessington will look to win in the opening match of the early session Friday against Gayville-Volin.