The Elk Point-Jefferson volleyball team capped their season with 2 wins in region play. That qualified them for the SoDak 16, the last step to the state tournament.
Their first win came against Lennox, at home Nov. 2. They dropped 1 game, but won the match 25-11, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21.
Game 1 started out slowly, with neither team able to take advantage. But, tied at 4-all, Alyssa Chytka dialed up 4 good serves and EPJ jumped to an 8-4 leader. Lennox, on the other hand, kept serving into the net and EPJ took full advantage to win the game.
The Orioles had a better start to game 2 with their hitters starting to connect. They used roll shots and tips to drop the ball right in the middle of the EPJ defense. The score was tied 13-13 when Hannah Nearman stabbed at a Lennox shot and put it over the net for a kill. EPJ got 3 quick points and was never threatened in that game.
Lennox got on a roll in game 3, jumping out to an early lead. The Huskies kept it tight, but didn’t catch up until 15-15. Lennox held game point, with EPJ trailing 21-24. Kills from Bentlee Kollbaum and Natalie Heuertz narrowed the gap, but Lennox held on for the game 3 win.
Play on both sides deteriorated in game 4, There were a lot of junk points and free balls sent over, with neither team capitalizing. EPJ had a lead, they lost the lead, serves were missed and the Huskies were down 16-17 when Emily Langle went back to serve. As in several of the last games, she had a bit of a run to get EPJ up by 3. Lennox got close, trailing 21-22, but a tip from Ashley Brewer was set point.
Kollbaum led the team with 10 kills. Chytka had 44 digs of the team’s 126 digs and Sophia Giorgio 35 assists. Brewer, Josie Curry and Natalie Heuertz all had a block.
If the brackets had held up, EPJ would have been travelling to Groton for their next game, but Beresford got the upset, and as the higher seed, EPJ got to play at home 1 last time.
The Watchdogs were never really in the match, as they struggled with missed serves and communication errors. Their back row consistently went after balls that looked long and they couldn’t ever get an advantage. Game 1 went to the Huskies 25-16.
Game 2 was much of the same, but Beresford hung closer, up to 9-all. The Huskies were playing outstanding defense, with Sophia Giorgio getting 3 amazing digs in just 1 rally. At 10-9, Langle came in to serve and the Huskies built their first real lead in the game. She served again from 22-17 to 24-17 before EPJ got the win 25-18.
The Huskies stepped up their serve pressure in the final game. When the Watchdogs were able to get a pass, they went to their middle, who kept them in the game. EPJ actually trailed 17-18 and the game was tied at 18, 19 and 20 before the Huskies got a 2-point cushion they hung on to to win the match.
Heuertz led the team with kills at 13 and Kollbaum had 10. Nearman and Giorgio both had aces, and Giorgio had 41 assists. Chytka made 27 digs and Curry had 3 blocks.
Those wins moved EPJ into the SoDak 16, where they were scheduled to play Wagner Tuesday, Nov. 9 at a neutral site, Irene-Wakonda.