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Trinity Titans trounce New England Tigers, advance to Region 7 championship

New England was only one point away from stealing the momentum, the first set and a shot at a match win against Trinity Tuesday night. But the Titans found a way to hold and secure the sweep on their way to advancing. No. 1-seeded Trinity won in ...

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Trinity senior outside hitter Kennedy Keator goes up for a kill attempt Tuesday in the No. 1-seeded Titans’ Region 7 semifinal match against No. 3-seeded New England at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Keator had 11 kills in the match. (Press Photo by Colton Pool)

New England was only one point away from stealing the momentum, the first set and a shot at a match win against Trinity Tuesday night.
But the Titans found a way to hold and secure the sweep on their way to advancing.
No. 1-seeded Trinity won in three sets against No. 4 seed New England to move on to the Region 7 volleyball finals at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
“It was definitely a fun match. The girls had smiles on their faces the whole time,” Titans head coach Breanna Messer said. “To get them in three is kind of unheard of in regionals, especially in the semifinals round.”
The Titans claimed a 10-4 lead to start the game out, but the Tigers replied with a 15-10 run before Messer called a timeout.
That timeout allowed Trinity to collect its breath, as it would close the set on a 5-2 escape.
“At this point in regionals, everyone is going to come out strong every single game,” Messer said. “At this point, it’s about who wants it more. We were loud tonight, but so was New England.”
The Tigers also got within three points in the second set, but Trinity closed out the second set 25-17.

The Titans’ defense was the difference. Led by senior outside hitter Madi Jahner’s 24 digs, senior outside hitter Kennedy Keator and senior middle Alanna Sickler each recorded double-digit digs with 18 and 14, respectively.
As a team, the Titans collected 82 digs to New England’s 79. Tigers freshman outside hitter Elizabeth Kaufman (19), senior middle blocker Jenna Ehlis (14), senior right side Hallie Peterson (13), sophomore setter Paige Ehlis (11) and senior outside hitter Linzee Volk (10) all chalked up double-digit digs.
“Obviously, they have some great hitters who found some spots on the court that was open a lot,” Tigers head coach Taylor Hafner said. “That really hurt us.”
Trinity’s offense turned on the jets in the third set, leading to a 25-14 decision despite a comeback late in the frame. Senior middle hitter Brianna Soehren tallied a match high 12 kills, while Sickler and Keator each added 11.
“That’s the best we’ve played all year,” Sickler said. “They’re a good team, so we had to be on top of our game. It was a lot of fun to play in.”
The Tigers, after sweeping Hettinger-Scranton 3-0 in the quarterfinals, will play No. 3-seeded Heart River at 5 p.m. Thursday in the third-place match.
“We’ve got to finish it for our seniors,” Hafner said. “Our seniors are what matter, and we’re going to get that third-place trophy for them. That’s our biggest focus.”
The Titans, after not losing a Region 7 match all season and only losing a single set in the regular season within the region, will play 25 minutes after New England’s contest against No. 2 seed Hazen in the Region 7 championship.
“I’m definitely excited,” Sickler said. “On Wednesday, we’ll have a hard and strong practice and then come out on Thursday.”

Trinity 3, New England 0
NE 21 17 14 - 0
T 25 25 25 - 3
KILLS: NE, Paige Ehlis 1, Jenna Ehlis 5, Hallie Peterson 1, Linzee Volk 3, Hailee Kuske 9. T, Alanna Sickler 11, Sarah Mayer 2, Kennedy Keator 11, Lauren Stafford 2, Madi Jahner 5, Brianna Soehren 12.
BLOCKS: NE, Kuske 2, J. Ehlis 0.5, Peterson 0.5. T, Sickler 2.5, Keator 2, Soehren 1.5.
ACES: NE, Adrienne Roller 1, P. Ehlis 1, Elizabeth Kaufman 1. T, Chloe Ridl 1, Sickler 1, Keator 3, Jahner 1.
DIGS: NE, Victoria Jalbert 7, Allie Kuske 1, Roller 2, P. Ehlis 11, J. Ehlis 14, Peterson 13, Volk 10, H. Kuske 2, Kaufman 19. T, Ridl 9, Sickler 14, Mayer 2, Abby Jones 5, Keator 18, Kerkman 6, A y Pavlicek 1, Jahner 24, Soehren 3.
ASSISTS: NE, P. Ehlis 17, Peterson 1. T, Ridl 35, Sickler 1, Mayer 1, Tylla Roshau 2.

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