Miners march past Raiders, go to semis
After witnessing a massive upset with No. 8 seed Heart River knocking off the No. 1 seed Beach, the Beulah volleyball team knew the Region 7 volleyball Tournament was anyone’s to win.
The Miners came out loud and energetic, sweeping Richardton-Taylor 25-23, 25-19, 25-17 on Monday night at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
Beulah was going into its match ready to go no matter what, but after watching the Beach upset, it gave the team the extra fight needed to take down the Raiders.
“We battled that’s for sure,” Beulah junior outside hitter Delaney Johansen said. “After seeing Beach, the top team, go down, we knew we really had to come out strong. Heart River really battled and we said, ‘That can’t happen.’ We really wanted it.”
In the first set, both teams went head-to-head until the end. Richardton-Taylor started the game off with two quick points, but Beulah kept it within two until junior outside hitter Jaime Murschel tied the game up 14-14 with a hard-hitting kill. On the next point, Richardton-Taylor senior outside hitter Haley Butterfield hit the ball out of bounds and put Beulah on top for the first time, and for the remainder of the game.
With its energy high and aggression visible, Beulah had it easy for the remaining two sets. After the Raiders scored first in the third set, the Miners made a quick comeback and scored seven unanswered points and three straight kills from Johansen.
Down by five, Richardton-Taylor capitalized on Beulah’s brief moment of confusion and closed in within three. But Murschel ripped three straight kills and her team outscored the Raiders 5-3 from there.
“We came out strong and knew we couldn’t give up anything for granted and went out like we wanted it and did what we had to do,” Murschel said.
Murschel and Johansen each had strong performances for the Miners, recording 18 and 13 kills, respectively. Johansen also added 10 digs and two aces, while Murschel had two aces, eight digs and two blocks.
Richardton-Taylor senior middle blocker Samantha Steiner led her team with 10 kills and three digs. The team overall recorded 30 kills, while Beulah had 40. Richardton-Taylor head coach Kayla Zent was very pleased with her team’s performance despite the loss.
“We battled hard, we had some ups and downs and just trying to play consistently which is something we’ve struggled with all year,” Zent said. “But all around they did good and played their hearts out.”
In preparation for Monday’s game, Beulah focused all week on serve reception and knew going in it would define which team would come out with the win. Beulah head coach Kevin Peterson said the team hasn’t necessarily struggled with it this season, but has been more “streaky.”
“You saw a couple times tonight our feet would get rattled just a little bit but overall, you can’t complain about anything as long as you’re moving on,” Peterson said. “The kids did a good job and followed our game plan almost to a tee.”
The Miners play Heart River at 6 p.m. today. Beulah isn’t taking its opponent lightly, either. The Cougars have already proven themselves in the tournament and Beulah is looking to have the next big upset in the tournament.
“We just got to control the ball because they’ve shown in their last couple of weeks their willingness to defend the ball is unbelievable,” Peterson said. “I thought we did the same thing tonight. They’re a much different team than when we played them at home, so we’ll just come out tomorrow and play.”
Murschel added: “Coming out loud and kind of knowing that all teams are up in the up and down and we just need to be the top team, do what we need to do and do what we know how to do. Communication is key. We just need to stay loud.”
RT 23 19 17 — 0
Beulah 25 25 25 — 3
Kills: RT, Samantha Steiner 10, Haley Butterfield 6, Shayna Frederick 5, Ashley Gullickson 4, Brielle Van Orman 4, Mikayla Aluise 1. B, Jaime Murschel 18, Delaney Johansen 13, Nicole Schramm 7, Cassidy Schutt 2.
Blocks: RT, none. B, Murschel 2, Schramm 1, Lakin Kessler 1.
Aces: RT, Frederick 2, Butterfield 1. B, Schramm 4, Murschel 2, Kessler 2, Nessa Iverson 1.
Digs: RT, Brooklyn Miller 15, Hannah Rummel 13, Butterfield 6, Mikayla Aluise 4, Frederick 4, Steiner 3, Gullickson 3. B, Jahansen 10, Schramm 9, Murschel 8, Kessler 8, Iverson 2, Abbey Schantz 1, Rachel Funkhouser 1, Courtney Mitchell 1, Cassidy Schutt 1.
Assists: RT, Rummel 18, Gullickson 2, Butterfield 1, Frederick 1. B, Kessler 27, Iverson 1, Mitchell 1, Schutt 1, Murschel 1.