SIOUX FALLS – The Warner Monarchs showed why they are the reigning champions in Class B with a dominating 25-20, 25-15, and 25-11 three-set sweep over the Wolsey-Wessington Lady Warbirds in semifinal action Friday night at the state tournament at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
The Lady Warbirds came out of the gates fired up and pushed the defending champions point for point early on. The teams had eight ties on the way to reaching a 10-10 score after a Mya Boomsma kill for the Warbirds.
However, the Monarchs took over the first set at that point, going on a 5-0 run. The Lady ‘Birds continued battling behind team defense, frustrating the Monarch hitting effort into six hitting errors in the first set, eventually drawing within 20-19 after a hitting error.
However, that was when the Wolsey-Wessington attackers begin to struggle to locate their shots, firing three straight shots long before an ace from junior Lauren Marcuson put Warner at set point, 24-20.
After W-W coach Lindy Uttecht took a timeout, Kendyl Anderson found the corner of the court behind the Warbird defense to give the Monarchs a 25-20 set victory and a 1-0 match lead.
The teams exchanged hitting errors to open the second set, with Wolsey-Wessington actually claiming a 3-2 lead after the first official kill of the set, recorded by Boomsma.
The Lady Warbirds would serve the next ball into the net, and then Warner would get a block at the net and record an ace serve to jump out to a 5-3 lead, and before one could even check the scorebook, quick plays had put Warner up 8-4 and drawn a timeout from Uttecht to gather her players.
The Warbirds held the distance between four and six until a trio of kills from Mallory Miller brought them within 16-11. That’s when Warner quickly rattled off three points, highlighted by kills from Lauren and Kyra Marcuson to push the lead to 19-11 and draw a timeout from the Warbirds.
The teams exchanged points out of the timeout, but after a service error and a hitting error by Wolsey-Wessington gave the Monarchs a 23-15 lead, they smelled the blood in the water.
A block by the Kendyl and Kamryn Anderson at the net and then an ace serve from Ava Nilsson gave the Monarchs the 25-15 second set victory.
The Lady Warbirds put their last gasp effort into the start of the third set. Miller scored three straight points with two kills and a block to bring the teams even at 7-7, and Leah Williams made an athletic kill as she adjusted mid-air to the set to give the Lady Warbirds a 9-8 lead.
However, that would be the last lead that Wolsey-Wessington would enjoy.
After the teams tied at 10, Warner went on a 5-0 run that was ended by a Williams kill, but that would incredibly be the last point that the Lady Warbirds would score the rest of the set.
Warner would utilize incredibly sharp passing and defense to close out the set 25-11 and sweep the match to return to the championship.
Warner moves to 36-2 behind 13 kills from Kyra Marcuson. Lauren Marcuson and Kyleigh Schopp each had seven kills, while Kendyl and Kamryn Anderson each added five kills.
Ava Nilsson set up the Monarch attack with 32 assists. Jordyn Jensen had a trio of service aces in the match.
Wolsey-Wessington was led on the attack by Miller, Williams and Boomsma with six kills apiece. Lainey Uttecht had 15 digs to pace the defense.
The Lady Warbirds will take a 29-5 record into tonight’s third-place matchup at 5 p.m against Burke.