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Class B SoDak 16 volleyball preview

Members of the Aberdeen Christian volleyball team celebrate on the court after winning the fourth set to defeat Northwestern at Thursday night’s Region 1B volleyball match at the Groton High School gym. The Knights take on Philip in Class B SoDak 16 action at 6 tonight in Gettysburg. Photo by John Davis taken 11/4/2021

Aberdeen Christian volleyball is officially in new territory.

The Knights (22-3) will be playing in their first ever Class B SoDak 16 match against Philip (31-6) at 6 tonight in Gettysburg.

Christian defeated Northwestern in the Region 1B semifinals last week for the program’s first ever win over the Wildcats.

The Knights feature six seniors, most of which have been varsity members for the better part of five years.

“I think the girls are just really finally starting to understand how special of a group they are and what they’re capable of,” said Christian coach Maggie Jett. “I’ve said it occasionally throughout the season that I just don’t think that we’ve even peaked, yet. And I’ll cautiously say it again. This group is capable of so much if they allow themselves to feel confident and to understand their ability.”

Jett said the players are still excited about what transpired against Northwestern. She has tried to instill in them that they deserve to be in the SoDak 16.

“I told them in practice, I understand there might be some nerves, just because you might be feeling a different kind of pressure or we’re in a new place that we’ve never been, but you’ve earned this,” Jett said. “What you guys did last week was outstanding.”

The Knights now face a Philip squad that racked up 31 victories on the season, including an impressive win over Class A Belle Fourche.

“We’ve done a little bit of scouting. From what we can tell they’ve earned their place in this game, too,” Jett said. “They’ve got some girls that can hit pretty hard. It looks like their Libero is pretty talented and does a nice job for them. We’re going to have to be on point with our serve receive. It looks like they can serve pretty aggressively. Their defense can be kind of scrappy.”

Aberdeen Christian plans to use its height to its advantage. The Knights go 6-foot-4, 6-1, 5-10, 5-10 across the front. Meanwhile, the tallest player for the Scotties is just 5-8.

“We really need to just capitalize on that by having good ball control on our side of the net so we can run our offense,” Jett said. “I think if we do that, we’ll be just fine.”

The Knights feature a variety of hitting options so once they get in system, they can be difficult to stop.

When asked about the keys to the match, Jett responded, “Just playing our game, being confident knowing we have what it takes to play pretty tough If we can stay controlled on our side of the net and be able to run our offense. We’re hard to beat if we can run our offense.”

WARNER (29-5) vs. EDGEMONT (20-10), 5 p.m. in Huron

Warner is coming off an impressive performance in a Region 1B semifinal win over Aberdeen Roncalli. The Monarchs should be favored in this matchup with Edgemont.

While the two teams have not played each other this season, they did face a common opponent. Warner defeated Belle Fourche, while the Moguls lost to the Broncs.

The Monarchs are entering this contest having won their last 15 matches in a row. It will take a major effort from Edgemont to prevent another return trip to the state tournament for Warner.

COLMAN-EGAN (24-7) vs. MILLER (21-12), 7 p.m. in Madison

Colman-Egan has flown under the radar all season, but has quietly pieced together a solid season. The C-Hawks gained a measure of state-wide attention last week when they knocked off the state’s last unbeaten team by taking down Bridgewater-Emery in the Region 4B semifinals.

Miller toughened up with a schedule full of Class A opponents. The Rustlers played in three of the past four Class A state tournaments (including a runner-up finish in 2018) before dropping down to Class B this season. They lost six of their first seven matches to start the season, but have played well down the stretch.

This is an intriguing matchup between two teams, either of which could be a tough out at the state tournament next week.

FAULKTON (25-6) vs. TIMBER LAKE (22-4), 6 p.m. in Ipswich

Faulkton overcame a bit of a rough patch during the middle of the season and the Trojans have won 19 of their past 21 matches heading into this contest. Meanwhile, Timber Lake brings a 16-match winning streak into the matchup.

A quick glance of common opponents shows that Faulkton defeated Potter County and Herreid-Selby Area, while the Panthers lost to Potter County and split with Herreid-Selby Area.

Faulkton has been a regular at recent state tournaments, finishing fifth last year and runner-up in 2019, while Timber Lake’s only state tourney appearance took place in 2012.

WOLSEY-WESSINGTON (27-4) vs. BURKE (28-8), 6:30 p.m. at the Corn Palace in Mitchell

Wolsey-Wessington has had a stellar season and is looking to conclude it at the state tournament. Burke hasn’t garnered much attention in the media ratings this season, but features a solid squad.

A look at common opponents reveals that Wolsey-Wessington defeated Warner, which Burke lost to. However, the Warbirds also lost three times to Faulkton, which Burke defeated.

The Cougars had a three-match losing streak late in the regular season, albeit against elite competition.

Burke has been to three state tournaments in the past four seasons, while Wolsey-Wessington is looking for its first ever trip to the state tourney.

Don’t be surprised if this one goes the distance.

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