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Hazen Bison defeat Heart River Cougars in four sets to go to Region 7 championship

The late match in the Region 7 semifinals Tuesday featured something not seen since the first round contests last week: a fourth set. Hazen's meeting with Heart River still left the bracket devoid of an upset, though, as the No. 2 seed Bison took...

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Hazen sophomore outside hitter Raquel Doll attempts a kill over the reach of Heart River senior Jasmine Northrop Tuesday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

The late match in the Region 7 semifinals Tuesday featured something not seen since the first round contests last week: a fourth set.
Hazen’s meeting with Heart River still left the bracket devoid of an upset, though, as the No. 2 seed Bison took the match in four sets from the third-seeded Cougars at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
Heart River will compete for third place at 5 p.m. Thursday against New England, which lost to top-seeded Trinity in three sets Tuesday. The win sets up Hazen (24-9-1) to face the Titans for the Region 7 championship 25 minutes after the third-place match.
After dropping the first set 25-18, Heart River (12-10-3) snagged the second game 25-17. The Cougars fell flat in the third, losing 25-10, but they nearly forced a fifth set when, trailing 24-20 in the fourth, fought back to tie it at 24. Hazen regrouped to take the next two points and win the match.
“All a coach can ask for is that a team go out and play with heart and compete, and that’s exactly what they did,” Heart River head coach Hope Klein said. “I’m very proud of them. And Hazen’s an amazing team. They’re a very smart team with some smart swingers. They’re going to place the ball in the gaps.”
Hazen senior middle Krista Slaubaugh led all players with 17 kills for the second consecutive match, and senior outside hitter Steph Ziegler tallied 12 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Raquel Doll notched 11 kills and six of the team’s 14 aces. Ziegler also gathered 31 of her team’s 110 digs, and junior outside hitter Courtney Rask supplied five aces.

Hazen held about a five-point buffer for most of the opening set, but the Cougars used a roaming defense and some slick serving to build a lead in the second set.
“In that second set, that’s when they really picked up a lot of balls,” Bison head coach Linette Irwin said. “We were having trouble finding ways to score, and they got on a roll with their serves, and we needed to serve-receive a little bit better.”
Heart River senior libero Mara Obrigewitch and sophomore setter Bailey Olson had 25 digs apiece, and the Cougars as a team collected 104. Senior outside hitter Allison Buckman and sophomore outside hitter Ashlyn Privatsky led the Cougars’ offense with 10 kills each.
Ziegler said for the team to be tested with the adversity of losing a set prepares it well for the next round.
“I’m glad we had that team rather than just a walk in the park,” she said. “And it’s a lot more fun when you have somebody challenging you and pushing you to your limits and making you better.”
Hazen was the only Region 7 team to take the Titans past three sets this year, losing in four Sept. 22.
“We have to come out ready to play, knowing they want it just as bad,” Ziegler said. “We need to bring it even better. Every pass, every set, every hit counts.”

Hazen 3, Heart River 1
HR 18 25 10 24 - 1
H 25 17 25 26 - 3
KILLS: HR, Allison Buckman 10, Ashlyn Privatsky 10, Becky Binstock 6, Jasmine Northrop 5, Raven Walker 3, Bailey Olson 2. H, Krista Slaubaugh 17, Steph Ziegler 12, Raquel Doll, Eva Byerley 4, Elise Hintz 3.
BLOCKS: HR, Walker 2, Northrop 1, Privatsky 1. H, Kayla Lindquist 3, Slaubaugh 3, Byerley 1, Hintz 1.
ACES: HR, Olson 3, Jenna Obrigewitch 2. H, Doll 6, Courtney Rask 5, Ziegler 2, Bethany Leier 1.
DIGS: HR, Mara Obrigewitch 25, Olson 25, Northrop 17, Buckman 17, Jenna Obrigewitch 7, Privatsky 5, Binstock 5, Walker 3. H, Ziegler 31, Slaubaugh 19, Leier 17, Rask 15, Lindquist 15, Doll 9, Byerley 2, Hintz 2.
ASSISTS: HR, Olson 25, Northrop 5, Walker 1. H, Lindquist 40, Hintz 2, McKenzie Walters 1.

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