Connect with us
Subscribe Today!


Chester Area crosses up Faulkton in tourney opener

Faulkton’s Carley Cotton, center, tips the ball at the net as Chester’s Addison Bates, right, defends the net during Thursday’s Class B match at the South Dakota State Volleyball Tournament at the Summit Arena in Rapid City. Looking on for the Trojans are Tegan Baloun (6), Addison Melius (7) and Anna Aesoph (13). Photo by John Davis taken 11/16/2023

RAPID CITY – The Faulkton Trojans knew they faced a daunting task in facing second-seeded Chester Area, what they didn’t know was that the Flyers had a different plan of attack than normal.

Chester Area found holes in the Faulkton defense by hitting cross-court shots to help fuel a 25-15, 25-10, 25-14 opening round win during the Class B State Volleyball Tournament Thursday night at The Monument.

“They were clearly prepared for our big blocks, because when we watched them they hit a lot of deep six and then tonight they were hitting a lot of cross court,” said Faulkton coach Mallory Schlechter, “so they knew that we had that. Our girls just didn’t adjust like they needed to, I guess.”

The Flyers knew about Faulkton’s stellar defense and had devised a game plan to try to get around it.

The method worked to near perfection.

“We did see that (defense on film) and both (Addison) Melius and (Carley) Cotton are really, really good players and huge threats on the outside and they’re a very scrappy defensive team,” said Chester Area coach Jean O’Hara. “We just caught some breaks on some of those balls and maybe took some good angles, and I thought our kids served well tonight and that kind of helped maybe make it a bit disruptive to get the ball to their big hitters.”

The match was tight early on before the Flyers found their groove. Chester Area was aggressive from the opening serve, and had multiple shots sail pass the baseline in the first set, but that was OK with O’Hara.

“We always say there’s a good miss and a bad miss and those girls were ripping on the ball. We were missing long and then they found their rhythm and they relaxed, and then those balls were in,” O’Hara said. “Any day of the week I think I’d rather see us miss those early rather than give up a free ball that’s going to come right back at us.”

Soon, the Flyers were on fire as multiple players were hitting from all angles. That put the pressure on the Faulkton defense.

“They’ve got a couple lefties. Usually we don’t see a lot of right-side hitters and their lefties just pound that line along with their undersized outside (5-foot-5 Jacy Wolf). She’s really good, too,” said Faulkton libero Anna Aesoph. “She can just get up tremendously. She can really hit that line.”

Faulkton’s Anna Aesoph, center, digs out a ball as teammate Addison Melius, left, looks on during Thursday’s Class B match against Chester at the South Dakota State Volleyball Tournament at the Summit Arena in Rapid City. Photo by John Davis taken 11/16/2023

Meanwhile, the Trojans found points hard to come by as Chester Area had big blocks at the net, and then covered up tips and roll shots with its back row. As a result, Faulkton couldn’t generate enough offense to keep pace.

“They’re a very scrappy team and they’ve got big blockers, too,” Aesoph said, “so it’s really hard to get a ball down on their court. They are constantly all over.”

The Flyers finished the night with 2 solo and 6 assisted blocks, and a whopping 63 digs, led by Emery Larson with 23.

“We knew they had a great defensive team,” Schlechter said. “We knew that going in and they did. They showed it really well and we just never really got off the ground.”

Emmerson Eppard and Lily VanHal each had 11 kills, and Wolf contributed 10 for the Flyers, who improved to 31-2 on the season.

“They were on,” O’Hara said of her hitters. “They were having a good game.”

Chester Area meets Castlewood in the semifinals at 6:45 tonight. The Flyers have their sights set on a state championship.

“I think we’ve got to recover from this one and then come back, you’ve got to play again,” O’Hara said. “I think the hardest thing about trying to win a state tournament is getting your kids ready and able to win three games in a row, three days in a row.”

Melius had eight kills and Cotton six to pace the Trojans. Melius added 11 digs and Aesoph 10.

Faulkton’s Jaymi Senn, center, reaches to hit the ball as Chester’s Emmerson Eppard, left, defends the net as the Flyers’ Addison Bates, right, looks on during Thursday’s Class B match at the South Dakota State Volleyball Tournament at the Summit Arena in Rapid City. Photo by John Davis taken 11/16/2023

Faulkton (24-10) takes on Colman-Egan in consolation action at 12:45 this afternoon.

“I think we just need to come with our heads up and not hang it on that game,” Aesoph said. “I think we just need to be ready to show up and play.”

Schlechter believes her team will do just that.

“I just think they’ve got a lot left to show, so I think they’re just ready to finally do that and we have a lot of people who have never been in this situation, a lot of people that haven’t had to be the leader in this situation,” Schlechter said, “and so I think just a lot was learned tonight and they can just come back stronger (Friday).”

Serving: Faulkton 0 aces; Chester Area 4 aces (Emmerson Eppard 2, Emery Larson 1, Lily VanHal 1).

Hitting: Faulkton 18 kills (Addison Melius 8, Carley Cotton 6, Kelli Stoecker 2); Chester Area 44 (Eppard 11, VanHal 11, Jacy Wolf 10).

Setting: Faulkton 18 assists (Tegan Baloun 10, Micah Martinmaas 7); Chester Area 41 assists (VanHal 22, Wolf 9, Larson 6).

Digs: Faulkton 44 (Melius 11, Anna Aesoph 10); Chester Area 63 (Larson 23, Wolf 15, VanHal 11).

Blocks: Faulkton 2 solo 2 assists (Stoecker 1 solo 1 assist, Jaymi Senn 1 solo, Aedyn Raethz 1 assist); Chester Area 2 solo 6 assists (Addison Bates 1 solo 2 assists, Emilie Bleeker 1 solo 1 assist, Katelyn Schut 2 assists, VanHal 1 assist).

Records: Faulkton 24-10; Chester Area 31-2.

Purchase a Photo

Browse By Category

Browse By Month

More in Volleyball

Dacotah Bank