Charged Up: Sioux Falls Christian, Hamlin open Class A tourney with wins

Sioux Falls Christian celebrates a point during Thursday's Class A quarterfinal against Madison.

WATERTOWN — There’s something definitely to be said about the experience of playing in a state tournament and that was on full display Thursday afternoon in the state Class A volleyball tournament in the Civic Arena.

Perennial power Sioux Falls Christian opened its quest for a fourth consecutive title, and ninth in 11 years, by quickly disposing of eighth-seeded Madison 3-0 (25-11, 25-12 and 25-21) in the opening match.

Things didn’t go as smoothly for fifth-seeded Hamlin in the second match. The Chargers, playing at state for the first time since 2004, had to overcome a slow to start to win a five-set battle against fourth-seeded Winner 3-2 (14-25, 25-17, 15-25, 25-18 and 15-11).

One might have thought the pressure of being the favorite would be a bigger issue for Sioux Falls Christian.

“We’re just so happy to be back and playing because everywhere else, it seems like there’s a lot of sports that aren’t going on,” said Sioux Falls Christian’s 5-foot-9 senior Abby Glanzer. “We’re just enjoying each other, playing together and playing for God. It’s been a lot of fun.”

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Sioux Falls Christian's Kylah vanDonkersgoed (12) and Sydney Tims (13) defend at the net against Madison's Audrey Nelson

The Chargers improved to 26-1 with their third victory of the season over Madison (16-5), which may have been the low seed in the tourney but has been ranked high most of the year.

Glanzer, a returning Class A All-Stater, set the tone early with a strong first set for Sioux Falls Christian. She tallied seven of her match-high 18 kills in the opening set.

Glanzer was a steady presence throughout the match, but other Chargers quickly followed suit. Junior Sydney Tims contributed eight kills and senior Brooklyn Pater and Katie Van Egdom each six.

“We knew we had to come out with a lot of fire because if we didn’t, they would give us a run for our money,” said Glanzer, whose team notched a 41-20 advantage in kills against the Bulldogs. “We definitely focused a lot on our blocking and our serving and passing. We definitely executed our passing. That makes a big difference because we have so many good hitters we can use.”

Madison celebrates a point during Thursday's Class A quarterfinal against Sioux Falls Christian.

Coach Darci Wassenaar’s squad also recorded one solo block and 12 block assists. Tims had five block assists and senior setter Kelsi Heard one solo block and one block assist to go along with 34 assists and three aces. Junior Kyla vanDonkersgoed made 10 digs, Glanzer eight and Van Egdom seven.

Seniors Sophia Vandenbosch (eight kills and six digs) and Abby Brooks (six kills and two block assists) paced Madison, which will face Winner at noon Friday in a consolation semifinal. Junior setter Kylie Krusemark recorded 16 assists.

While Christian had little trouble winning the rematch against Madison, that wasn’t the case for a Hamlin team that had notched a 2-0 victory over Winner during the season.

The Warriors (22-5) played with 5-foot-8 junior outside hitter Ellie Brozik and senior libero Maggie LaCompte in the previous match. Brozik was a big factor on Thursday — tallying 28 kills, two aces and 12 digs. LaCompte added 20 digs.

“In volleyball, you try not to say that one girl can change the whole game, but she (Brozik) really does for Winner. And with their libero back, those two girls definitely changed the dynamic,” said Hamlin head coach Ashley Heinrich “Plus it’s the state tournament. I expected them to show up and play their best. Thankfully for us, we came out on the right side of it.”

Winner's Ellie Brozik fires a shot over the net against Hamlin during the Class A quarterfinals on Thursday.

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It was anything but easy for the Chargers, who had to play catch-up most of the day. After Winner cruised in the first set, Hamlin got even. Then Winner again won the third set handily and led 14-13 in the fourth set before the Chargers (20-4) took over.

“I think with us not being here in such a lot time, all the jitters were there early,” said Hamlin senior Ashtyn Abraham. “Once we got in a groove and figured it out, we all just had confidence and had some fun.”

Hamlin does have a wide variety of contributors and after a slow start, it was Ashtyn’s younger sister Ally — a 5-11 sophomore — who took over. Ally led Hamlin with 15 kills and also had three block assists. Ashtyn added nine kills and 31 digs.

McKenna Prouty, a 5-11 senior, also tallied nine kills and added three solo blocks and two block assists. Other Hamlin leaders included Grace Everson (22 assists and 12 digs), Taylor Koisti (18 digs), Brylie Arnold (four kills), Kami Wadsworth (13 assists, 19 digs and three block assists), Zoey Ruotsalainen (18 digs) and Gracelyn Leiseth (two block assists).

Hamlin celebrates a point vs. Winner in the Class A quarterfinals on Thursday.

“We kind of picked things up in the second set and then we obviously went back and forth with Winner,” said Heinrich. “In the fifth set, I told the girls: ‘Here’s the deal ladies. It’s now or never. I know still still have more games, but do we want to play Sioux Falls Christian or do we want to play Madison?’ They went out and played their hearts out and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Kalla Bertram, a 5-8 senior outside hitter, also played well for Winner and finished with 14 kills and 25 digs. The Warriors also got 13 digs from Jenna Hammerbeck, 45 assists and 15 digs from Mackenzie Levi, one solo block and three block assists from Shannon Calhoun and two block assists from Marlie Schuyler.

Hamlin, which lost to Milbank in the state championship match the last time they played in a state tournament, will face Sioux Falls Christian at 5 p.m. Friday in the first semifinal match.

“We’re going to give it our all,” said Ashtyn Abraham.

Dakota Valley, Parker both advance

Sixth-seeded Dakota Valley and seventh-seeded Parker each punched their tickets to the semifinals with first-round wins Thursday night in the state Class A volleyball tournament in the Watertown Civic Arena.

Dakota Valley (16-5) advanced with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-9) win over third-seeded Rapid City Christian. Parker (19-7) also won 3-1 — beating second-seeded Hill City 25-21, 25-18, 18-25 and 26-24.

Dakota Valley celebrates a point during Thursday's Class A quarterfinal vs. Rapid City Christian.

RCC (28-5) and Hill City (26-3) are each making their first-ever appearances in the state tourney.

Rachel Rosenquist smacked 13 kills, Sophia Stchison 12 and Jorja Van Den Hull 11 for Dakota Valley. Atchison also had four aces and Van Den Hull three aces, three solo blocks and two block assists.

Sammi Archer tallied 20 digs, Rosenquist 15 and Wilshire 15 for the Panthers.

Riley Freeland recorded 24 assists, five kills, 16 digs and three block assists for Rapid City Christian. Olivia Kieffer had 10 kills and 11 digs, Emma Schultz 10 digs, Abby Pierce nine kills and 13 digs and Tori Alstiel seven kills, one solo block and five block assists.

Parker celebrates a point during Thursday's Class A quarterfinal vs. Hill City.

In Thursday’s final first-round match, Shelby Lang’s 18 kills and 198 digs powered the Pheasants to victory.

Other Parker leaders were Breana Jensen, 17 digs; Ryleigh Andersen, 12 kills, six digs, two solo blocks and one block assist; Brooke Berens, nine kills and three block assists; Cierra Mohr, 42 assists and eight digs; Alexis Even, nine digs; and Morgen Carlson, six kills and three block assists.

Rapid City Christian and Hill City meet at 2 p.m. Friday in the consolation semfinals. Dakota Valley and Parker will face off in the semifinals at 7 p.m.

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