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Belle Fourche edges Roncalli

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Maddie Huber, center and Jaidyn Feickert, far right, defend the net as Belle Fourche’s Adryana Hovland, far left, hits the ball during Friday’s match at the Roncalli Gym. Photo by John Davis taken 9/30/2022

It takes a solid effort to defeat Aberdeen Roncalli at home and on Friday afternoon Belle Fourche rose to the challenge.

The Broncs overcame a one-set deficit, showed supreme effort and came up with a 19-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-21 non-conference volleyball victory at Roncalli Gym. It was just the Cavaliers’ second home setback of the season.

“This has always been a hard game for us, because Roncalli always has very good teams for us to come and play,” said Belle Fourche coach Loree Schlichtemeier.

The most recent match was anything but easy again, yet the Broncs came through with a victory.

Much like last year’s five-set marathon win over the Cavaliers, Belle Fourche was able to produce at key moments.

“They swing hard and they swing hard for that back line,” said Roncalli coach Mandy Smid. “It just makes it a little bit different than we’ve seen yet this year.”

After dropping the opening set, the Broncs bolted out to a 10-3 lead to start the second set and changed the tone for the remainder of the match. Roncalli ended up playing from behind the rest of the way, and while the Cavaliers kept within striking distance they were never able to get over the hump in any of the last three sets.

“We’ve kind of played that way all year long, but they kept us down and made us fight and rally for things,” Smid said, “made us force some out of system plays that we’re maybe not as accustomed to do.”

Belle Fourche has a multiple-weapon offense, that features lefthanded and righthanded hitters than can do damage from either pin.

“Sometimes it’s hard to read,” said Roncalli libero Camryn Bain of trying to tell where the ball is headed. “Going from lefthanded players to righthanded players, you kind of have to read their body to see where it’s going. It gets confusing a little bit.”

If it wasn’t Mataya Ward and Dylan Stedillie pounding shots cross court, it was Adryana Hovland who found open spots. Grace Clooten patrolled the middle making one big block after another.

“A very nice effort. We had some kids kind of step up a little bit,” Schlichtemeier said.

No point was more indicative of that effort than when Clooten dove out of bounds to save a ball, got up and scrambled back to to the middle of the court to make a block on the next hit.

“I told her in the locker room, I’ve never had a middle (hitter) that did something like that, so lots of effort from the girls tonight,” Schlichtemeier said. “All of them had some really cool things like that.”

Turns out, the Broncs needed that kind of an effort to finally subdue the Cavaliers at the finish.

“It was a battle,” Schlichtemeier said. “They have some really nice hitters, play well defensively, and then we missed some serves at some very inopportune times.”

Ella Hanson had 13 kills, 21 digs and a pair of blocks, and Ava Hanson four aces, 12 kills and three blocks for Roncalli.

Bain led the team with 23 digs. The junior said she tries to maintain a positive attitude during tight matches like the one against Belle Fourche.

“In my head I’m just trying to stay really positive,” Bain said, “and kind of build people up, so that we get good plays and keep going.”

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Camryn Bain looks to dig out a serve during Friday’s match against Belle Fourche at the Roncalli Gym. Photo by John Davis taken 9/30/2022

Belle Fourche will compete in the Pheasant Classic in Redfield today. Roncalli hosts two matches next week, taking on Langford Area on Tuesday and then Britton-Hecla on Thursday.

The Cavaliers, 7-6 on the season, have definitely regrouped since a tough stretch to start the season.

“This year I think we’re all really close,” Bain said of the team’s improvement throughout the year so far. “It kind of helps because we play better on the court.”

Serving: Aberdeen Roncalli 79-84 4 aces (Ava Hanson 79-84 4 aces, Maddie Huber 11-11 1 ace).

Hitting: Aberdeen Roncalli 135-153 38 kills (Ella Hanson 46-51 13 kills, A. Hanson 24-33 12 kills).

Setting: Aberdeen Roncalli 137-137 24 assists (Faith Danielson 40-40 12 assists, Huber 62-63 12 assists).

Digs: Aberdeen Roncalli 98 (Camryn Bain 23, E. Hanson 21).

Blocks: Aberdeen Roncalli 10 assists (A. Hanson 3, E. Hanson 2, Jaidyn Feickert 2).

Records: Belle Fourche 13-5; Aberdeen Roncalli 7-6.

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