Buccaneers settle in, beat Hazen
KILLDEER -- The Beach volleyball team didn't know what to expect from Hazen at all.
Going into its Region 7 Tournament quarterfinal match basically blind -- the teams hadn't played this season before Monday night -- hindered the District 13 champions a little, but the Buccaneers shook off shaky starts with strong performances late in sets to seal a 27-25, 25-16, 25-21 victory at the Killdeer High School gymnasium.
"I feel like they played a little bit nervous, almost the whole time," Beach head coach Allison Skari said. "They kept it together as best as they could, but I could tell as their coach that they were nervous."
Beach had to climb out of deficits in the first and second sets, trailing almost the entire first set before turning things around late and winning a back-and-forth battle, not on its own, but thanks to a net violation and a kill error by Hazen.
The Buccaneers finally took charge in the second set, turning to its strong front row on one of its most productive rotations. They broke free with a six-point run to take a 20-13 lead and all but seal the two-set lead.
Beach's ups and downs seemed to coincide with their rotations as 5-foot-10 junior Cydni Stedman, 5-9 junior Hailee Farstveet and 6-1 sophomore Channa Clarin made play at the net difficult for the Bison -- until they rotated to the back row or the bench.
"We just give each other support and help each other because we need to get out of that rotation so we can keep moving on and keep the momentum going," said Stedman, who led the Buccaneers with nine kills. "We have a big row of hitters in front that makes the difference."
Farstveet had eight kills and Clarin added six kills and three blocks.
Hazen didn't go quietly though, going on point streaks that gave it leads in the third set. The biggest was an 18-15 spread after an Autumn Johnson kill and an Ashton Carter ace that looked as if it would serve as a catalyst to lengthen the match.
But, as Bison head coach Linette Irwin has said all year, little miscues cost Hazen dearly down the stretch and led to a letdown.
"That seems like that was kind of what happened to us this year," Irwin said. "We play really, really hard and it's good play. But we just couldn't squeak out the win at the end.
Carter led Hazen, the No. 4 seed from District 14, with six kills. Setter Rachael Hansana, the district's senior athlete of the year, had 11 assists, five kills, five digs and an ace.
"I thought we had some really big plays and then the ball wouldn't fall our way," Irwin said. "We'd come up with a huge save, they'd put it back at us and we'd have to do it again. Eventually you're going to lose the point."
Beach ended the match on a four-point run that included a service error and a hitting error by Hazen and culminated in a pair of Stedman kills.
The Buccaneers move on to face Dickinson Trinity at approximately 7:30 p.m. today in the semifinals.
Skari said she is hoping for improvement on all ends as the Buccaneers find themselves two wins away from the Class B state tournament.
"Tonight we were a little bit more shaky," Skari said. "We pulled out the win, which was the most important. We really didn't want to be done today. I think they had some fun and I'm hoping for a way better performance tomorrow night."
Hazen 25 16 21 -- 0
Beach 27 25 25 -- 3
Kills: H, Ashton Carter 6, Rachael Hansan 5, Steph Ziegler 3, Hannah Zimmerman 3. B, Cydni Stedman 9, Hailee Farstveet 8, Channa Clarin 6, Steph Steele 3, Bailey Waldal 3, Chantel Fulton 2.
Blocks: H, Autumn Johnson 1. B, Clarin 3, Farstveet 1.
Aces: H, Kayla Lindquist 4, Carter 1, Tayler Dockter 1, Hansana 1. B, Fulton 1, Kari Schmeling 1.
Digs: H, Ziegler 7, Carter 6, Dakota Wood 6, Hansana 5, Maggie Jacobson. B, Katrina Shumway 7, Fulton 5, Schmeling 4, Fastveet 2.
Assists: H, Hansana 11, Lindquist 7. B, Fulton 21, Farstveet 3.
Region 7 Tournament
At Killdeer High School Gymnasium
Beulah def. New England, 25-21, 25-18, 25-22
Richardton-Taylor def. Mott-Regent, 24-26, 25-18, 25-23, 25-18
Beach def. Hazen, 27-25, 25-16, 25-21
Dickinson Trinity def. Heart River, 25-20, 25-13, 25-19
Beulah vs. Richardton-Taylor, 6 p.m.
Beach vs. Dickinson Trinity, 7:30 p.m.
Third place: Semifinal losers, 6 p.m.
Championship: Semifinal winners, 7:30 p.m.