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Press Photo by Royal McGregor Beulah senior Lakin Kessler, middle, is picked up by teammate Nicole Schramm after sweeping Dickinson Trinity the Region 7 championship on Thursday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Kessler finished with 33 assists, 11 digs and two kills to lead the Miners and she was also named Region 7 senior athlete of the year.

Miners down Titans: Beulah sweeps Dickinson Trinity, wins Region 7 volleyball championship

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Don’t let the end result be misleading.

There was nothing easy about this Region 7 championship match between the Beulah and Dickinson Trinity volleyball teams.

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“First three points, I was already huffing and puffing,” Beulah senior setter Lakin Kessler said with a smile. “It definitely wasn’t easy at all.”

Beulah used a Jaime Murschel 15-kill performance to grind out a sweep of Dickinson Trinity 25-22, 25-22, 25-22 to win the Region 7 title and punch its ticket to the North Dakota Class B state volleyball tournament on Thursday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

“We played at our pace, I felt, the entire match,” Beulah head coach Kevin Peterson said. “Overall, it was just a really good volleyball match.”

The match was especially a sigh of relief for Murschel. Prior to the Region 7 championship, the junior outside hitter played and lost in three straight region championship games — two in Ray and last year in Beulah.

Murschel made her fourth straight region championship worth every moment. She not only had a game-high 15 kills, but knocked down the match-winning kill in the third set.

“I knew that line was open all game long and when I went up I saw it out of the corner of my eye,” said Murschel, who also added eight digs, one block and one ace. “I just did what I did.”

Kessler knew once Murschel hit the ball on the final kill the shot was going down.

“I had a feeling that she was going to get it,” said Kessler, who finished with 33 assists, 11 digs and two kills. “It was all just in slow motion to me.”

Beulah not only punched its ticket to the state volleyball tournament, but took home two individual awards. Kessler won Region 7 senior athlete of the year and Peterson was named Region 7 coach of the year.

When Kessler was announced as senior athlete of the year, she was shocked, but Peterson was jumping for joy.

“I love that kid,” Peterson said. “For what she’s done the last two years and she’s always that kids that seems to have a smile on her face and she’s always trying to get better. She’s a humble kid and I’m just proud of her. She directs us and understands what it takes to be successful.”

Kessler added: “I didn’t really expect winning it, but I’m super happy he won it. He is just an awesome guy. It was just great.”

In the opening set, Trinity ran out to an early 5-0 lead, but the Miners came marching back. The two teams went back and forth and the Titans extended their lead again at 16-11 after Beulah was called for a lift violation.

Beulah didn’t fret. Instead, the Miners started chipping away at Trinity’s lead and eventually retook the lead, 20-19, for good after a Nicole Schramm kill. The Miners finished out the set with 5-3 run as Delaney Johansen, who finished with nine kills, knocked down the set-winning kill.

The second and third sets were nearly mirror images of each other. Trinity and Beulah would go on runs, battle back and forth and came out the victors in each.

The biggest margin in second and third sets was a Miners seven-point, 17-10, lead in the third. Beulah’s set-winning point in the second was on a Trinity kill error, while Murschel ended the match with a kill.

Though the match ended in a sweep, the Titans weren’t displeased with their effort. It just wasn’t their night.

“We played up and down and it just go in our favor this time,” Trinity head coach Rayma Braaten said. “I’m just proud of the girls. Beulah played a pretty good game and my girls played good too.”

Trinity senior middle hitter Gretchen Weir added: “We definitely had our moments and in the end we really fought back as hard as we could, but it just didn’t go our way. Beulah will represent our region well at state.”

Kennedy Keator led the Titans with 10 kills and 14 digs, while Weir and Katelyn Grinsteinner each had seven kills. Katie Dockter dished out 24 assists. Jillians Stockert finished with a match-high 19 digs.

For the Miners, Schramm ended with a team-high 13 digs, five kills and two aces, while Johansen had nine kills and eight digs.

Beulah marches on to the North Dakota Class B state tournament beginning on Thursday at the Minot State Dome.

“We just have to keep playing like we did tonight,” Murschel said. “It will be fun. I could never pick a better group to go with.”

Trinity 22 22 22 — 0

Beulah 25 25 25 — 3

Kills: T, Kennedy Keator 10, Gretchen Weir 7, Katelyn Grinsteinner 7, Brianna Soehren 4, Allison Steffan 3. B, Jaime Murschel 15, Delaney Johansen 9, Nicole Schramm 5, Cassidy Schutt 4, Courtney Mitchell 3, Lakin Kessler 2.

Blocks: T, Grinsteinner 1. B, Murschel 1.

Aces: T, Katie Dockter 3, Katelyn Rummel 1. B, Schramm 2, Murschel 1, Nessa Iverson 1.

Digs: T, Jillian Stockert 19, Keator 14, Grinsteinner 3, Rummel 3, Dockter 3. B, Schramm 13, Kessler 11, Murschel 8, Johansen 8, Schutt 6, Rachel Funkhouser 6.

Assists: T, Dockter 24. B, Kessler 33.

New England defeats Heart River in 4 sets for third place

Taylor Hewson and Hannah Nordby combined for 35 kills to lead the New England volleyball team past Heart River.

The Tigers used the hitting effort defeat the Cougars 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 25-18 during the third place game during the Region 7 Tournament.

Hewson posted 20 kills, nine digs and three aces, while Nordby added 15 kills, eight digs and two aces. Gabbi Hanson dished out 39 assists, seven digs and two aces. Autumn Wolf posted 13 digs and Madison Humleker supplied 11.

For the Cougars, Karli Northrop had 13 kills and 15 digs. Desiree Johnson added eight kills and two digs. Jada Mattson posted 33 assists and 14 digs, while Alex Poland supplied 16 digs and three aces.

NE 25 25 19 25 — 3

HR 21 19 25 18 — 1

Kills: NE, Taylor Hewson 20, Hannah Nordby 15, Linzee Volk 3, Autumn Wolf 2, Gabbi Hanson 2, Jenna Ehlis 2. HR, Karli Northrop 13, Desiree Johnson 8, Addison Olson 7, Mikayla Raskin 7, Nettie Splichal 7.

Blocks: NE, Nordby 4. HR, Raskin 2.

Aces: NE, Hewson 3, Nordby 2, Hanson 2. HR, Alex Poland 3, Mara Obrigewitch 2, Raskin 1.

Digs: NE, Wolf 13, Madison Humleker 11, Hewson 9, Nordby 8, Hanson 7, Ehlis 6. HR, Gracelynn Gross 18, Poland 16, Northrop 15, Jada Mattson 14, Olson 8.

Assists: NE, Hanson 39. HR, Mattson 33.

Region 7 awards

All-Region: Channa Clarin, Beach; Hailee Farstveet, Beach; Katelyn Grinsteinner, Dickinson Trinity; Taylor Hewson, New England; Cassie Holt, Hettinger-Scranton; Abby Honeyman, Mott-Regent; Lakin Kessler, Beulah; Jada Mattson, Heart River; Brooklyn Miller, Richardton-Taylor; Jaime Murschel, Beulah; Alex Poland, Heart River; Macy Smyle, Bowman County; Gretchen Weir, Dickinson Trinity; Dakota Wood, Hazen; Stephanie Ziegler, Hazen

Senior athlete of the year: Lakin Kessler, Beulah

Coach of the year: Kevin Peterson, Beulah

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