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Raiders cage Tigers: Richardton-Taylor uses hitters, servers to sweep past New England

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Richardton-Taylor's Haley Butterfield, middle back, hits against New England's Taylor Hewson, left, and Alecia Turner during a Region 7 match on Thursday at New England Gymnasium.

NEW ENGLAND -- Aside from a few hiccups, the Richardton-Taylor volleyball team was on a roll.

The Raiders used a plethora of hitters and serves en route to a sweep over New England.

Haley Butterfield fueled Richardton-Taylor's offense with eight aces and six kills in the 25-16, 25-22, 25-22 sweep on Thursday.

"Everyone was just on the same page and focused," Butterfield said. "Even when we made mistakes, we kept going. There wasn't a letdown."

In the two previous meetings during tournament play between the Raiders (10-7) and the Tigers (8-4), New England won both matches.

Kayla Zent, Richardton-Taylor's second year head coach, said the win on Thursday was a big moment booster.

"They knew we had to come out with more intensity in our game," Zent said. "They came out and played pretty consistent. I was pretty pleased with that."

Despite when New England made rallies, Zent didn't lean back on calling a timeout. The lone timeout she called was in the final set after New England's Taylor Hewson ripped a back-row kill to tie up the set 21-21.

"I like to give them a chance to mentally take a breath, know what we have to do and refocus," Zent said. "I like them to work it out."

Butterfield added: "She's good about calling timeouts, but it nice when she doesn't have to and we can figure it out ourselves."

Hewson was knocking down kills from all around the court -- back row, net and middle. The junior outside hitter had a game-high 11 kills and two aces.

"She's definitely going in for the kill every time," New England head coach Taylor Brown said. "She's one I'm always proud of because she's never going to quit. She's not going to safety up and she can't safety, because she's going to be our go-to hitter."

Despite the three-set loss, Brown was pleased the overall effort and not giving up. Hannah Nordby supplied 12 digs, five kills and two blocks. Gabbi Hanson posted 16 assists and three kills.

"My girls were pretty flat out on our feet and Richardton-Taylor was definitely ready for us," Brown said. "This is probably the worst I've seen my girls play, but they didn't give up. They show potential. We just have a lot to work on."

Richardton-Taylor's Hannah Rummel dished out 19 assists and kept New England's defense guessing. The senior setter found five different hitters throughout the match including Sam Steiner's team-high seven kills, while Shayna Frederick added five.

"Hannah does an excellent job of mixing it up and keep the team on their toes," Zent said. "She is just a good leader for our team too."

RT 25 25 25 -- 3

NE 16 22 22 -- 0

Kills: RT, Sam Steiner 7, Haley Butterfield 6, Shayna Frederick 5. NE, Taylor Hewson 11, Hannah Nordby 5, Gabbi Hanson.

Blocks: RT, Ashley Gullickson 2. NE, Nordby 2, Linzee Volk 1.

Aces: RT, Butterfield 8, Hannah Rummel 3, Mikayla Aluise 2. NE, Hewson 2, Hanson 2, Volk 1.

Digs: RT, Brooklyn Miller 24, Butterfield 7, Aluise 4. NE, Maddison Humleker 18, Nordby 12, Volk 9.

Assists: RT, Hanson 16. NE, Rummel 19.

Records: RT 10-7. NE 8-4.