Every team gets respect in Region 7 TournamentThe thought for Region 7 volleyball coaches going into their respective district tournaments was that any team could win.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The thought for Region 7 volleyball coaches going into their respective district tournaments was that any team could win.
That mindset isn’t changing as eight teams prepare for the Region 7 Tournament that begins at 3 p.m. Monday at the Killdeer High School gymnasium.
“There are some teams that have an advantage in certain positions and certain rotations,” Beulah head coach Kevin Peterson said. “I also think there are eight volleyball teams that have proven throughout the course of the year they can beat one another.
“Monday is very important from the standpoint if you find a way to get to three before your opponent does you give yourself a shot to continue on.”
Beach and Beulah were the No. 1 seeds in the District 13 and 14 tournaments, respectively, and maintain those seeds coming into regionals.
Despite having the No. 1 seed in the District 13, the Buccaneers were rattled by injuries during the latter half of the regular season.
“We had a big team talk about what we wanted our goals to be and we knew the districts were at the top of our goals,” Beach head coach Allison Skari said. “We had about three-week stretch where we weren’t playing very well. We didn’t have our full lineup and we had to relearn how to play with each other.”
The Miners are in the opening match playing New England, the No. 4 seed from the District 13, at 3 p.m. Beulah has one senior on its roster — Kelsie Schmidt — and the rest are juniors and sophomores.
Beulah relies on a host of middle and outside hitters as sophomore Jaime Murschel, a transfer from Ray, led the team in the District 14 championship game against Dickinson Trinity with 24 kills, 17 digs and three aces.
“We’ve taken such big strides and grown together as a really tight-knit group,” Peterson said. “There are things we know we do really well and there are things that we know if we just eliminate some of those things that we maybe struggle with on occasion, we give ourselves a chance to win.”
Beach starts the tournament against Hazen, the No. 4 seed from District 14, at 6 p.m.
The Buccaneers and the Bison didn’t play during the regular season, but Skari hopes her team can bring the same level of intensity that helped them win the District 13 tournament.
“They really stepped up at districts and they showed what they are made of,” Skari said. “I’m hoping we’re now just hitting our peak.”
The Buccaneers’ main weapon at the net is 6-foot-1 middle hitter Channa Clarin. The sophomore tallied 13 kills and four blocks in the District 13 championship game against Mott-Regent. Clarin has been battling a sore knee during the last half of the season.
“She doesn’t play in the back row, because of her sore knee,” Skari said. “She told me she was going to play in the district tournament and she really proved herself.”
Trinity, the No. 2 seed from District 14, plays Heart River, District 13’s No. 3 seed, in the last quarterfinal match at 7:30 p.m.
Despite losing to Beulah in the District 14 championship game, the Titans are riding a wave of confidence after rallying from seven points down, 16-9, to force a fifth set on Tuesday.
“Overall, my team is very ready,” Trinity head coach Rayma Braaten said. “If the team can play as well as I know they can, we are going to be pretty tough to beat.”
Aly Schieno, a 5-8 senior outside hitter, leads Trinity into the Region 7 Tournament. Her 26 kills and 52 digs against Beulah in the title game were both careers highs.
Mott-Regent nabbed the No. 2 seed from District 13 and plays Richardton-Taylor, the No. 3 seed from District 14, at 4:30 p.m.
Twin sisters Logan and Halle Olson are the senior leaders for the Raiders. Richardton-Taylor also has a wealth of juniors including Sami Steiner and Haley Butterfield to knock down points.
“We played them pretty early on in the season and we beat them 3-0, but going into the regional tournament everyone steps up their game,” Richardton-Taylor head coach Kayla Zent said. “I think it will be a good game.”
The consensus around the coaches is all eight matches in the tournament are going to be competitive.
“Whoever brings their game can get it,” Braaten said. “I think any team in this tournament can take that championship.”