Tigers to meet Bulldogs

NEW ENGLAND -- Wins have not come easy for Bowman County in the District 13 volleyball tournament at New England. After nearly being upset by Beach in the first round on Friday, the third-seeded Bulldogs again found themselves in a dogfight Tuesd...

NEW ENGLAND -- Wins have not come easy for Bowman County in the District 13 volleyball tournament at New England.

After nearly being upset by Beach in the first round on Friday, the third-seeded Bulldogs again found themselves in a dogfight Tuesday with second-seeded Heart River. But this time, they only needed four games.

The Bulldogs advanced, barely, to the District 13 championship against top-seeded New England with a 26-24, 23-25, 25-20, 26-24 win over the Cougars in the semifinals. Bowman County and New England meet at 7 p.m. tonight.

"Going to Game 5 the other night prepared us for tight situations and it gave us some confidence that we can play through those," Bowman County coach Kent Harding said.

The first two games consisted of the Bulldogs and Cougars trading points with Bowman County finding two scores in a row to close Game 1 and Heart River finding two straight points to take Game 2.


However, just as Bowman County did against Beach, Game 3 proved to be the Bulldogs' awakening. Behind the attacking of junior outside hitter Allison Hanson, Bowman County went on a 9-2 run, which included a 5-0 spurt, to turn an 8-8 game into 17-10 lead.

"In a tournament in the first games, there's always going to be some errors and a few mistakes to get over the jitters a little bit," Harding said.

The momentum from the Game 3 victory carried into Game 4 where the Bulldogs put the Cougars into a 9-0 hole. But just as they have done all tournament long, they gave themselves a challenge and allowed the Cougars to come back.

Heart River slowly fought back to tie the game at 18-18 and fought off three match points after falling down, 24-21, before finally dropping the game, the match and their hopes for a district title.

"We kind of expected some different things from Bowman, to sit back and really pound the ball," Cougars coach Craig Pool said. "One of the things that caught us off guard was their change of tempo. It took awhile to adapt to that."

Hanson led the Bulldogs with a match-high 22 kills, five digs and four blocks. Senior outside hitter Lindsey Tivis was deadly with the serve, notching five aces. Senior setter Stephanie Lockert recorded 45 assists.

"Hanson is a very good hitter but I give also a lot of praise to Stephanie Lockert," Harding said. "Her sets were there. They were there so she could hammer them home."

For Heart River, senior Megan Richard led the way with 13 kills, two aces and 16 digs. Senior Maren Dorval had a game-high 18 digs while junior Ashlynn Evoniuk and senior Lynae Ramousek each had six digs.


The Cougars have another shot to clinch a berth in the Region 7 tournament against the well-rested Mott-Regent Wildfire at 4 p.m. today.

"I don't know if the rest at this time of year will do you any good or if it is going to make you a little rusty," Pool said. "I'm thinking most teams, realistically, would like another opportunity to play."

Tigers 3, Black Devils 0

Fans were put on upset watch briefly in the second match up of the day featuring top-seeded New England and fifth-seeded Hettinger.

The Tigers soon shook off their rust from a quarterfinals bye, however, and swept the Black Devils 26-24, 25-14 and 25-18, in the semifinals of the District 13 tournament.

The win earns New England a berth in the district championship game as well as a spot in the Region 7 tournament.

"It's a great feeling," New England coach Jodi Jung said. "That was our goal at the beginning of the season. We worked hard all season to get there and now we're there."

Hettinger put up a strong performance in Game 1, going point for point with the Tigers until breaking loose on a 7-0 run.


"That bye kind of hurt us a little bit and I didn't think it would," Jung said. "Coming out and not playing for a week, it's a hard thing.

"I told them in the huddle that we need to kick it into gear and to start being more aggressive at the net."

The Tigers closed Game 1 with a 13-5 advantage, however, to steal the win.

A 7-3 start in Game 2 singled the arrival of the Tigers mentally and the end of Hettinger's title chances. Game 3 began in similar fashion with New England gaining a 14-6 edge early.

"When it slipped away, our confidence fell a little bit," Hettinger coach Kevin Morast said. "We battled hard but New England is just a really good team.

"We needed that one to get some confidence against a really good team."

For Morast, his team's inability to contain New England senior Dana Kuhn and junior Shari Hewson was instrumental in the loss.

Hewson posted five kills and three blocks while Kuhn led the Tigers with 10 kills. Each had an ace and team-high 12 digs.


"We knew we had to control their two outsides, Kuhn and Hewson, and we just didn't do that," Morast said.

Buccaneers 3, Miners 0

Beach kept its Region 7 tournament hopes alive with a 25-14, 25-22, 25-21 win over Scranton.

Sophomore Emily Hardy, senior Mikayla Dahl and junior Kristina Weinreis each led Beach in kills with five a piece. Dahl also posted three aces, six digs and a block. Defensively, Hardy led Beach with 11 digs and two blocks.

For Scranton, their season came to an end with senior Brittany Truetken tallying a match-high 12 kills in the final match of the season.

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