Team Effort Catapults Roosevelt to AA Volleyball Championship
RAPID CITY, SD – Star power might win a lot of games, but it takes a team to win a volleyball championship.
Sioux Falls Roosevelt’s normal standouts did their part. But Sioux Falls Washington’s bid to win a state volleyball title for the first time since 2001 was literally blocked by the Riders.
The third-seeded Riders downed fourth-seeded Washington 25-21, 25-20 and 25-16 in the title match of the South Dakota Class AA state volleyball tournament Saturday night. The outcome was a reversal of a year ago for the Riders who had a two-set lead over Sioux Falls Lincoln then dropped the final three sets in the state final.
It’s the third straight year, the Class AA state volleyball titlist is from Sioux Falls as Lincoln held the crown the last two seasons.
Lead by a powerful front line, the Rough Riders’ height and athleticism proved to be too much all weekend at the Rapid City Central gym, as Maggie DeJong, Ashley Beaner and Tagyn Larson each recorded double-digit kills for the third straight night.
DeJong had 15 kills, while Beaner, the lone senior in the bunch added 12 and Larson 11.
The Riders were able to slow down Washington hitters collecting 20 ace blocks, led by DeJong, the 6-foot junior had seven. It’s a huge part of their game, and it showed in the match.
Head coach Holly Lynch said the blocking was about more than just point production.
“We needed to become stronger defensively, we saw that in last year’s championship loss to Lincoln,’ Lynch said. “A good blocking team can help your defense become a good offensive team.”
Warriors’ head coach LaDawn Nesje thought the Riders slowed down her hitters.
“A team like that you have to play your best,” Nesje said. “We played our best two matches in this tournament against Watertown and Mitchell. They forced some of our hitters to alter their shots. This is where you want to be in the championship game, but they make you think about a lot of things.”
Erinn Temple, returns as Setter next year for Roosevelt, dished 41 assists. Beaner had 15 digs and DeJong 11.
WHS Middle Hitter, 6-foot senior, Emma Hanson had a match-high 18 kills.
“We knew we had to come out strong, I think we over played a little bit, trying to a bit more than what we needed to do,” Hanson said. “We’ve come so far, I’m proud of everyone. Each player has improved and we came together, but we just couldn’t get the job done.”
Roosevelt defeated Washington twice during the regular season.
What school has the most State AA volleyball titles?
Roosevelt joins Washington with five. Sioux Falls O’Gorman, Sioux Falls Lincoln follow with four each.
All Tournament Team
Katelynn Allerdings, Huron; Taylin Alm, Mitchell; Lauren McCafferty, Aberdeen Central; Hannah Whitlock, Watertown; Anna Sykora, RC Stevens; Skylar Larson, RC Stevens; Hannah Neiman, SF Washington; Emma Hanson, SF Washington; Ellie Benson, SF Washington; Maggie DeJong, SF Roosevelt; Ashley Beaner, SF Roosevelt; Erinn Temple, SF Roosevelt