HURON – In their third meeting of the season, the Warner Monarchs completed a three-game season sweep of the Hitchcock-Tulare Lady Patriots with their second five-set win of the year over Hitchcock-Tulare in the final match of the opening round of the Class “B” State Volleyball Tournament Thursday evening at the Huron Arena.
The Monarchs took the match with set scores of 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 23-25, and 15-7.
Hitchcock-Tulare opened the first set with the serve, and Kenidee Enander opened about as well as the Lady Patriots could have hoped, as Hitchcock-Tulare jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
Warner used excellent directional hitting that continually seemed to find the corners of the court to climb back into the set. The Lady Patriots didn’t ever truly let the Monarchs all the way back in, and Warner used their first timeout at 14-9.
Warner stormed out of the timeout, and a big kill from Lauren Marcuson brought the Monarchs to their first tie of the first set at 16-16, drawing a timeout from Hitchcock-Tulare coach Jordan Opp.
Warner took their first lead of the set at 20-19 on a Lady Patriot hitting error, and Opp took another timeout as Warner bumped that lead up to 21-19. The Lady Patriots stormed back to take a 22-21 lead, but Warner was able to storm back to take a hard-fought first set 25-23.
Warner came out strong in the second set 7-2, drawing a timeout from Hitchcock-Tulare. Ava Nilsson, Warner’s setter, made some very impressive plays to earn a pair of kills along with a pair of impressive passes to allow Warner to continue pushing the Lady Patriots in the second set.
Hitchcock-Tulare fought back to trail 13-12, drawing a Warner timeout, but the Lady Patriots worked to a 14-14 tie. The teams worked back and forth before the Monarchs used a strong run of serving from Summer Scepaniak, one of just two Monarch seniors, to build up a lead that Hitchcock-Tulare simply could not overcome as they fell 25-18 in the second set.
Warner’s hitting dominated the start of the third set, as the Lady Patriots called a timeout after the Monarchs jumped out to a 6-1 start in the third set. Hitchcock-Tulare responded well after the timeout, coming back to take their first lead at 9-8.
After the Lady Patriots continued their run to extend the lead to 12-9, Warner coach Kari Jung called a timeout. The Lady Patriots continued with their lead, and after eighth grader Katelyn Schroeder slammed home a kill to make it 21-16, Warner called its second timeout of the set.
The Monarchs came out of the second timeout and scored multiple points before a hitting error gave the serve back to Hitchcock-Tulare. However, Warner was able to make a run to get within 22-21, drawing a timeout from Coach Opp of the Lady Patriots to talk things over.
The Monarchs took the next point, but the Lady Patriots were able to finish out the third set, 25-23, on a big Schroeder kill.
With the score 14-7 Warner and much of the Monarch scoring coming due to hitting and serving errors by Hitchcock-Tulare, Coach Opp called his first timeout of the fourth set to attempt to gather his team.
The Lady Patriots were able to chop a couple points off the deficit, but never to get all the way back, as Warner called a timeout after Hitchcock-Tulare got within 18-15. The Lady Patriots were not done, however, pushing to take a 21-19 lead behind excellent serving from Enander.
Warner was able to quickly get the set tied at 21, and the two teams went back and forth, seeking the final run to take the set. The Monarchs committed a net error to give the Lady Patriots a 24-23 lead and then had a hitting error to give the Lady Patriots the fourth set 25-23.
The Monarchs were able to come out with strong hitting to take a 7-3 lead in the fifth set, drawing a timeout from Hitchcock-Tulare. After the Lady Patriots captured momentum to get within 10-7, Coach Jung of Warner called a timeout to gather her troops.
The Monarchs took the first two points after the timeout to take a five-point lead, drawing Coach Opp’s final timeout of the match, as he hoped to rally his Hitchcock-Tulare squad. Instead, Warner completed the five-set win by sweeping the rest of the points to take the 15-7 set win.
Warner moves to 23-1 with the victory and will play Chester Area in the semifinals tonight at 7:00 p.m. They were led by a balanced attack, featuring four hitters in double figures in kills on the night, led by Jennifer Aman with 16 kills. Lauren Marcuson had 13 kills, Kendyl Anderson had 12 kills, and Kyra Marcuson had 11 kills.
Setter Ava Nilsson directed the Monarch offense with 52 assists and was also key on defense at the net with three block assists. Anderson led the Monarchs with four block assists on the match.
The Monarch defense was paced by Courtney Bjorgaard with 26 digs, while Lauren Marcuson had 24, Peyton Fisher had 17, Nilsson had 16, Summer Scepaniak had 15, and Aman had 11.
The Lady Patriots were led on the attack by Schroeder, who paced the team with nine kills and four block assists. She also led the team with 23 digs.
Dannyn Peterson (one solo, four assists) and Ashley Masat (two solo, three assists) each had five blocks on the night to lead the Lady Patriots.
Enander orchestrated the Hitchcock-Tulare hitters with 32 assists and added 15 digs on the night. Madison Hofer had 20 digs while Cassidy Johnson and Peterson each had 19 digs.
Hitchcock-Tulare falls to 18-5 and will face Faulkton Area in the consolation bracket at 2:00 p.m. today. The Lady Patriots played the Trojans in their third match of the season and lost in four hard-fought sets.