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New England's vicious last stand against Bowman County ends 3-1 

The New England Tigers put up a hard fight against Bowman County Bulldogs in the Region 7 quarterfinals on Monday night.

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Hannah Frank (4) delivering an attack from the middle.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — True to their mascot, the New England Tigers showed a ferocious attitude and proved themselves a commendable adversary against Bowman County in the Region 7 volleyball quarterfinals on Monday. Despite their tremendous effort the New England team, with seven seniors, exited the tourney after a 3-1 (25-20,25-15, 18-25, 25-18) defeat inside the Trinity gymnasium.

Bulldogs (4) 5’11”middle hitter Ellie Powell was consistent in her offense, which proved to be too much for the Tigers (5) to overcome. Powell was a deadly assassin, garnering 20 kills for Bowman County.

The Tuesday before, Powell broke Bowman County's school record for most career kills and after the quarterfinal game, she broke past 1,100 kills.

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Ellie Powell (14) tips the ball over the net.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

“I am very proud of my senior, especially, for going out and working hard for their last game and pushing themselves no matter what,” New England Head Coach Taylor Hafner said. “I am proud of the entire team for never giving up.”

The first set started with New England taking a short lead, but minor mistakes soon had them fighting from behind. Powell delivered an ace to put Bowman County at a comfortable 18-12 lead. The Tigers would narrow the gap, serving two aces themselves before the Bulldogs called a timeout, killing any momentum.

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Bowman County’s libero Emberly Van Daele started the second set serving an ace. It ignited a 4-0 lead — a lead they would never relinquish. Despite making good saves during long rallies, New England would lose game two due to the Bulldogs superior ball control.

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Bowman County defeat New England in quarterfinals of Region 7 volleyball tourney.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Before entering the court for the third game, Hafner huddled her team and offered strong words of encouragement that helped surge a rally.

The Tigers began with a 4-0 lead of their own, capped with two aces from Messa Kuehl. Bowman County was hot on their trail, but New England would hold the lead for the duration of the set. They were able to adjust from the Bulldogs tip shot from the first two sets, allowing them stronger ball control.

“You saw our season in a nutshell in that match,” Phil Weldele, Bowman County head coach, said. “We will play really well and then mentally let down. We started playing on our heels and they were playing to win and we weren’t. And then we recovered.”

On a 15-10 run of points, greatly contributed from senior middle blocker Hannah Frank, New England was penalized for serving out of rotation. The fault changed the score to 13-11, however it did not stop Frank and her teammates from continuing on a 16-11 run.

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Hannah Frank (4) with a kill.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

“[Frank] did not let that break momentum,” Hafner said. “She was going for it right away and I was very proud of her through that because that is a big momentum killer and she went out and was not going to let that hurt us. Very proud of her pushing herself all the way through that.”

The Bulldogs picked up steam late in the third set, but good court IQ would be enough to keep New England alive for another game.

The fourth and final set, started with a 4-0 run — for a third time in the match. Bowman County, up 11-2, looked to finish the match quickly, but a kill from Frank would begin a four-point run. The four-point run including back-to-back aces from senior Maddie Rayhorn.

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Maddie Rayhorn (11) on the service line.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Frank, attacking from the middle, made it a one-point match. A kill was immediately followed with the Bulldogs’ going on a five-point run, keeping a fifth set out of reach.

“Again, I am so proud of all the girls for working so hard and pushing themselves," Hafner said. "I have a lot of upperclassmen, but we got a lot of underclassmen coming up so I feel good about growing our program thanks to our senior leadership that we had this year.”

The New England senior class produced 19 kills, 30 assists and 56 digs. Frank ended the game with 14 kills, a block, three assists and 13 digs. Leslie Pando Anaya had one assist and three digs. Setter Molly Wolf had two kills, an ace and 26 assists. Samantha Volk finished three kills, two blocks and 18 digs.

“We really come together at the right times. Tonight we couldn’t pull it off, but that's alright,” Frank said. “This is a team I am going to miss. There is a lot of chemistry there that I haven't felt in a couple of years, so that's pretty good.”

Bowman County will face the Trinity, the No. 1 seed, in the semifinals on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 5 P.M. In the other semifinal bracket, Glen Ullin (2) and Beulah (3) will clash following the Bulldogs and Titans game.

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Avrie Nohava (1) tipping the ball.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Quarterfinal results:

Trinity def. Hazen 3-0 (25-8, 25-10, 25-8)
Glen Ullin / Hebron def. Richardton-Taylor 3-0 (25-11, 25-15, 25-18)
Beulah def. Hettinger-Scranton 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-21)

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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