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Press Photo by Royal McGregor Heart River senior outside hitter Karli Northrop, right, knocks down a kill against Bowman County seniors Nicole Carlson, left, and Mataya Seamands in a first round Region 7 Tournament game on Friday at South Heart High School gymnasium. The Cougars won 3-1

Cougars edge Bulldogs: Raskin helps Heart River rally, defeat Bowman County in Region 7 Tournament

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SOUTH HEART — Normally in volleyball, the team’s middle blocker doesn’t step back to the serving line and rally her team from five points down — especially one who has only been serving for four matches.

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But, Heart River’s Mikayla Raskin did. The only thought in her mind during the fourth and final set was don’t give up easy points.

“I was just thinking the entire time, ‘This has to be in. I couldn’t really mess up at that point in time and I had to play defense right away that,’” Raskin said.

Raskin served five consecutive points to help the No. 8-seed Cougars climb out of an 18-12 deficit, finish the set with a victory and ultimately win their opening round Region 7 Tournament game against the No. 9-seed Bowman County 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 25-23 on Friday.

“Mikayla just started serving for us four games ago,” Heart River head coach Hope Volesky said about Raskin’s serve performance. “I think she’s only missed two serves. She gets back there and she’s very confident in herself. She’s doing very well. Her defense has actually come a long ways in the last four games.”

In the fourth set, the Bulldogs had control from the get-go building up a 17-9 lead after Heart River was called for a net violation. The Cougars scored three straight points, which included a pair of Bulldog attacking errors.

After Heart River’s Gracey Gross knocked down a kill, Raskin stepped to the serving line and helped swing the momentum in favor of the Cougars and tie up the set 18-18.

“Getting back even helped us out tremendously and helped fuel our momentum,” said Raskin, who finished with seven kills and two aces.

Once the set was tied, it was a race for each team to score seven points before its opponent. The Cougars edged the Bulldogs in the final stretch as Desiree Johnson, Raskin and Nettie Splichal each contributed kills. Johnson finished with a team-high 11 kills, while Splichal supplied seven.

One of the main cogs for the Cougars’ offensive attack was junior setter Jada Mattson, who finished with 35 assists and three aces. Though the digs weren’t crisp, Karli Northrop said Mattson did a great job dealing with everything.

“Jada is a very good setter,” said Northrop, who finished 10 kills and 21 digs. “She can put the ball anywhere we want. I give her props for that. Our passes weren’t that great tonight, but she gave us good sets.”

However, the Bulldogs’ senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Dix gave Heart River nightmares throughout the entire match.

Dix said she wasn’t feeling very comfortable. Yet, the jitters went away pretty quickly.

“I was kind of iffy and nervous coming in, but then I just played my hardest and I knew what I could do with it on the court,” Dix said.

Bowman County’s head coach Anne Hanson told Dix before the game the team was going to be lean on her. Hanson wasn’t disappointed in Dix’s performance and the team overall.

“One thing that we constantly tried to fix this year was that we never gave up in games,” Hanson said. “I can honestly say and I’m very proud of my girls that throughout the entire season we didn’t give up in one game.

“(Dix) stepped it up. She’s one of my leading seniors and I basically looked at her and said, ‘Kaitlyn you got to be my leader tonight.’ She said ‘OK coach’ and she went out there played well.”

The match included vast changes in momentum. The Cougars controlled the momentum for the first two sets, while Bowman County was in control for the next set and a half.

Needless to say, Volesky was nervous with a lead, without a lead and every way in between.

“There were points in time during the third and fourth sets where I don’t even know what to tell the girls anymore,” she said with a smile. “They just had to go out there, play with their heart and have fun. You could definitely tell when the momentum switched sides. There were big differences in play.”

Heart River’s first two set-winning points came on aces from Northrop and Mattson, respectively. Bowman County’s set-winning point in the third came on a Heart River attacking error.

With an opening win in hand, the Cougars advance to play No. 1-seed Beach in the quarterfinals of the Region 7 Tournament at 3 p.m. Monday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. On Tuesday, the Buccaneers took a five-set win over Cougars and the loss is fresh in the mind of every player and coach for Heart River.

“We just need to play great defense and not be afraid of Beach’s front row,” Volesky said. “We just need to go out there and play our game and just swing away.”

Northrop added with a smile: “We want that win. We definitely know we can do it and we are going to definitely come in hard. We are going to fight for it.”

BC 20 18 25 23 — 1

HR 25 25 23 25 — 3

Kills: HR, Desiree Johnson 11, Karli Northrop 10, Nettie Splichal 7, Mikayla Raskin 7.

Aces: HR, Jada Mattson 3, Northrop 3, Raskin 2.

Digs: HR, Northrop 21, Alex Poland 20, Gracey Gross 16.

Assists: HR, Mattson 35, Splichal 3.

Raiders start quick, defeat Cowboys in 4 sets

RICHARDTON — The Richardton-Taylor volleyball team started quick and never looked back.

Haley Butterfield supplied nine aces and six kills to lead the No. 5-seed Raiders past No. 12-seed Killdeer 25-14, 25-11, 21-25, 25-15 during the first round of the Region 7 Tournament.

Samantha Steiner added 12 kills for Richardton-Taylor, while Hannah Rummel dished out 27 assists. Brooklyn Miller chipped in 33 digs and two aces.

For the Cowboys, Alyss Kovash had nine kills, while Taylor Achter added eight. Kalisha Keller dished out 29 assists.

Richardton-Taylor advances to the quarterfinals to play No. 4-seed Beulah at 5 p.m. Monday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

Killdeer 14 11 25 15 — 3

RT 25 25 21 25 — 1

Kills: K, Alyss Kovash 9, Taylor Achter 8, Jess Starr 4, Jane Dukart 1. RT, Samantha Steiner 12, Haley Butterfield 6, Shayna Frederick 6, Ashley Gullickson 5.

Blocks: K, Starr 2, Achter 1, Kovash 1. RT, none.

Aces: K, Achter 2, Dukart 1, Kalisha Keller 1. RT, Butterfield 9, Mikayla Aluise 3, Frederick 2, Brooklyn Miller 2.

Digs: K, Dukart 14, Ashley Birkle 7, Keller 2, Achter 2, Starr 1. RT, Miller 33, Frederick 12, Butterfield 11, Aluise 8.

Assists: K, Keller 29. RT, Hannah Rummel 27.

Night Hawks sweep past Mott-Regent in first round

HETTINGER — Hettinger-Scranton’s outlasted Mott-Regent’s Abby Honeyman’s 14-kill performance and turned it into a three-game sweep.

Kaitlin Reitz knocked down nine kills and one ace as the Night Hawks flew past the Wildfire 25-13, 25-21, 25-17 on Friday in the first round of the Region 7 Tournament.

Cassie Holt added seven kills, three aces and 10 digs, while Brooke Slater supplied three kills and 11 digs.

Alyssa Olin tallied 28 assists and seven digs. Sadie Ambers had six kills and four blocks, while Allison Gion posted five kills and three blocks.

Hettinger-Scranton continues its trek in the Region 7 Tournament playing No. 2-seed Dickinson Trinity at 7 p.m. Monday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

MR 13 21 17 — 0

HS 25 25 25 — 3

Kills: MR, Abby Honeyman 14, Sadie Ambers 6, Allison Gion 5, MaLynn Kautzman 3. HS, Kaitlin Reitz 9, Cassie Holt 7, McKinsey Jahner 7, Brooke Slater 3.

Blocks: MR, Ambers 4, Gion 3. HS, Kaylee Pierce 2, Jahner 2.

Aces: MR, none. HS, Holt 3, Cassie Andress 1, Reitz 1, Talyssa Kvanvig 1, Slater 1.

Digs: MR, Alyssa Olin 7, Honeyman 6, Abbey Kautzman 5, Olivia Messer 4, Shantel Hemer 2. HS, Slater 11, Holt 10, Andress 9, Jahner 9.

Assists: MR, Olin 28. HS, Kvanvig 23, Jahner 2.

Tigers handle, roll past Bearcats

NEW ENGLAND — Hebron-Glen Ullin kept it close in the opening set, but couldn’t recreate the same magic in the second and third.

Taylor Hewson and New England full advantage coming away with a 25-23, 25-17, 25-13 sweep over the Bearcats on Friday in the first round of the Region 7 Tournament.

Hewson finished with a game-high 18 kills and three aces. Hannah Nordby tacked on 16 kills and four blocks, while Gabbi Hanson supplied 33 assists, four kills and two aces.

Michaela Gerving led the Bearcats with seven kills and four blocks. Kari Gerving had 15 assists and seven digs, while Beth Morman had seven digs and three aces.

The Tigers continue their quest in the Region 7 Tournament playing No. 3-seed Hazen at 9 p.m. Monday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

HGU 23 17 13 — 0

NE 25 25 25 — 3

Kills: HGU, Michaela Gerving 7, Sabrina Horst 3, Taya Bandle 3. NE, Taylor Hewson 18, Hannah Nordby 16, Gabbi Hanson 4.

Blocks: HGU, M. Gerving 4. NE, Nordby 4

Aces: HGU, Beth Morman 3. NE, Autumn Wolf 6, Hewson 3, Hanson 2.

Digs: HGU, Morman 7, Kari Gerving 7, Kendra Gerving 7. NE, Hanson 13, Madison Humleker 7, Hewson 6.

Assists: HGU, Kari Gerving 15. NE, Hanson 33, Wolf 4.

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Royal McGregor
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