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Press Photo by Royal McGregor
Beulah sophomore outside hitter Jaime Murschel, right, hits past junior Ashley Gullickson, middle, and senior Halle Olson during the semifinal game of the Region 7 volleyball tournament on Tuesday at the Killdeer High School gymnasium.
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Beulah sophomore outside hitter Jaime Murschel, right, hits past junior Ashley Gullickson, middle, and senior Halle Olson during the semifinal game of the Region 7 volleyball tournament on Tuesday at the Killdeer High School gymnasium.

Murschel leads Miners back to title match

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Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

KILLDEER -- The fans at the Killdeer High School gymnasium got to watch the Jaime Murschel show.

Except for when Richardton-Taylor's Haley Butterfield, Halle Olson and Logan Olson each tuned to their own programming.

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Beulah used Murschel's 21-kill performance en route to a 25-14, 25-21, 25-27, 22-25, 15-11 win in the semifinals of the Region 7 tournament on Tuesday, putting the Miners one step closer to reaching the Class B state tournament for a second consecutive year.

"When Jaime is really focused and relaxed, she has the ability to terminate balls at a really high percentage," Beulah head coach Kevin Peterson said. "When we needed something, it seemed like the ball was in her hands."

Throughout the five-set match, the second set was the deciding influence after taking an easy first set. Beulah was down throughout a majority of the match until Peterson called a timeout. The Raiders had a 19-13 advantage, but the Miners weren't done there.

"In the second set, the ability to buckle down and be really good with the ball when we needed to was huge," Peterson said. "The second set gave us some playing room and try to steal set three. That didn't work out, Richardton-Taylor just made more plays then we did."

Beulah ripped off an 8-0 run to take a 21-19 lead. That was the Miners' first lead in the game. The set ended with a four-hit violation by the Raiders.

"The second set was huge for us," said Murschel, who moved to Beulah from Ray this year. "We came back and dug deep. Coach kept saying, 'Fight for every point, don't let the ball hit the floor, try your hardest and do what you know how to do.'"

Though the Miners were able to escape with a second-set win, the Raiders didn't let them repeat that performance in the third set. After a Hannah Rummel kill and ace and a pair of Beulah errors, Richardton-Taylor caught a wave of momentum in the third set.

"The second set was ours," Richardton-Taylor head coach Kayla Zent said. "We were up the whole time, we lost a little bit of momentum and we kind of let up a bit. The girls really came back in the third and fourth sets and really stepped it up."

Butterfield, Logan and Halle Olson came to life in the fourth set. Butterfield tallied 10 kills, while Logan and Halle Olson each added six. Junior outside hitter Sami Steiner tacked on nine.

Butterfield was lethal at the service line with five aces. She also had 12 digs and one block. Hannah Rummel dished out 32 assists and two aces.

"The hitters played really well," Zent said. "If we could have minimized their errors, it could have been a turning point for us. They definitely stepped up and put the ball down when they needed to."

The Murschel show wouldn't have happened without a supporting cast. Junior setter Lakin Kessler dished out 42 assists, Nicole Schramm compiled eight kills and Delany Johansen added six. Schramm also had two blocks, four aces and 13 digs, while Johansen added two aces and 12 digs.

"(Lakin) is awesome," Murschel said. "She knows where I want the ball and if she doesn't put it there, I try my best to get around it."

With the added momentum from the third and fourth sets, the Raiders wanted to continue the momentum in the fifth and final set. The Miners, however, had a different plan.

"We were nervous," Murschel said with a smile. "We had a lot of mixed emotions, but we fought through them."

Beulah clicked on all cylinders to take a 7-3 lead and never coughed up the lead. It was only fitting the Murschel show ended with a kill by the sophomore outside hitter.

The Miners will a take a little breather and travel back to Killdeer for the Region 7 championship against Dickinson Trinity at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Richardton-Taylor faces Beach at 6 p.m. in the third-place match.

"It was fun, it was long, but in the end you get a chance to play for the region championship," Peterson said with a smile.

RT 14 21 27 25 11 -- 2

Beulah 25 25 25 22 15 -- 3

Kills: RT, Haley Butterfield 10, Sami Steiner 8, Logan Olson 6, Halle Olson 6. B, Jaime Murschel 21, Nicole Schramm 8, Delany Johansen 6.

Blocks: RT, Ashley Gullickson 4, L. Olson 2, Butterfield 1. B, Schramm 2.

Aces: RT, Butterfield 5, Hannah Rummel 2, Steiner 2, H. Olson 2. B, Kelsie Schmidt 4, Johansen 2, Lakin Kessler 1.

Digs: RT, Maggie Zentner 17, Steiner 17, Brooklyn Miller 13, Butterfield 12. B, Schmidt 13, Johansen 12, Murschel 11, Kessler 9.

Assists: RT, Rummel 32. B, Kessler 42.

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