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Warbirds fall to Burke in five-set thriller to open state tourney

Wolsey-Wessington’s Kailynn Dorris, center, reaches to hit the ball as Burke’s Paige Bull, 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 Warbirds are Lainey Uttecht, back left and Payton Kemnitz, back right. Photo by John Davis taken 11/16/2023

RAPID CITY – It was a five-set thriller at The Monument on Thursday afternoon.

Burke outlasted Wolsey-Wessington 25-19, 25-15, 15-25, 23-25, 15-10 for an opening round win at the Class B State Volleyball tournament.

Despite the loss, Wolsey-Wessington coach Lindy Uttecht was proud of how her team performed.

“I knew it was going to be an intense matchup,” Coach Uttecht said. “I was very proud of how they stepped up and they kept competing and they didn’t give up. Even in that last set when we got down, they still just kept inching their way back up into it.”

Burke coach Billie Jo Indahl said her team expected a battle.

“We knew coming into this, watching film on Wolsey-Wessington, they battle,” Indahl said. “They’re just like us. We’re so evenly matched, it’s almost scary. We expected this to be like this.”

Burke led throughout the first set and built a one-set advantage, then proceeded to take set two, finishing that set on an 8-2 run.

Down two sets, it was do or die for the Warbirds.

Wolsey-Wessington senior Kailynn Dorris said communication was important in order for the team to make a comeback.

“Our biggest thing is talking, we call it hype,” Dorris said. “We always get really energetic and it helps us a lot. We’re always down in practice. That’s what we practice every single day when we scrimmage. We’re used to it; we’re ready for it.”

In set three, Wolsey-Wessington built a lead, although Burke kept it close. The Cougars pulled to within 17-15 before the Warbirds closed the set on an 8-0 run.

Uttecht said the team had to settle in during the third set.

“We played a little tense; played a little scared,” Uttecht said. “We were in the net a little bit, hitting out of bounds, and missing serves. Once we kind of settled down and started getting the flow back, getting the jitters out a little bit, things worked a lot better for us.”

The Warbirds made set four difficult for the Cougars. The set was tied on several occasions, with both teams trading points, before Wolsey-Wessington finished the set strong, tying the match up at two sets apiece.

Wolsey-Wessington’s Tatum Luce, left, tries to hit the ball past Burke’s Paige Bull, center, during Thursday’s Class B match at the South Dakota State Volleyball Tournament at the Summit Arena in Rapid City. At right for the Warbirds is Kailynn Dorris. Photo by John Davis taken 11/16/2023

Indahl credited the Warbirds for their creativity to climb back into the match.

“They started getting creative and started tipping around us, because we did put up a big block,” Indahl said. “They did struggle with that, and they started finding our holes. If they would’ve done that earlier, it might’ve been a different match.”

In the final set, Burke jumped out to a 6-1 lead, however, Wolsey-Wessington battled back to tie the match at 6-6. Dorris said the team had to play with strategy during the fifth set.

“Try to make a move out of the order, try to hit the corners a lot,” Dorris said. “Just get them discombobulated and try our best.”

Despite the Warbirds’ efforts, Burke was able to pull ahead just enough to win the set, and ultimately, the match.

Indahl was proud of how her team finished the match.

“I felt like we served really tough, they battled hard, and they finished it when they needed to,” Indahl said.

Kailee Frank topped the Cougars with 20 kills.

Wolsey-Wessington’s Samara Clemente, left, hits the ball past Burke’s Piper Hanson, right, during Thursday’s Class B match at the South Dakota State Volleyball Tournament at the Summit Arena in Rapid City. Looking on for the Warbirds are Roxy Glanzer (10) and Lainey Uttecht (14). Photo by John Davis taken 11/16/2023

Dorris led the Warbirds with 21 kills, while Samara Clemente had 14. Shae Uttecht led the team with 25 digs, while Lainey Uttecht followed with 24. Kendal Uttecht finished with 20 digs and 27 set assists.

Burke (32-4) will take on top-seeded Warner in the first semifinal at 5 tonight.

The Cougars and Monarchs faced off earlier in the season at the Arlington Invitational on Sept. 9, and Indahl said her players know what they are up against.

“We know it’s going to be tough,” Indahl said. “We played them earlier this year. They’re good, they’ve got great hitters all the way around, phenomenal setter. We really have to be disciplined at the net and we’ve got to be able to put up a big block and just be ready. It’s going to be a fun battle, but the girls are super excited to get another chance.”

Wolsey-Wessington will play Gayville-Volin in the first consolation match today at 11 this morning. Coach Uttecht said the team will look to prepare for the Raiders.

“We’re going to pick ourselves up here. I said ‘Don’t’ hang your head. We gave them a fight and now we’ll get ready for Gayville-Volin,’” Coach Uttecht said. “We’ll need to get on and get some game film and watch some game film. They gave Warner everything Warner wanted, so certainly we’re going to have to look at some stuff tonight and see how we want to adjust to them.”

Serving: Wolsey-Wessington 3 aces (Kendal Uttecht 2, Payton Kemnitz 1); Burke 5 aces (Emmie Hausmann 3, Ava Sargent 2).

Hitting: Wolsey-Wessington 53 kills (Kailynn Dorris 21, Samara Clemente 14, Tatum Luce 8, Lainey Uttecht 7); Burke 56 kills (Kailee Frank 20, Hausmann 17, Paige Bull 14).

Setting: Wolsey-Wessington 51 assists (Kendal Uttecht 27, Kemnitz 23); Burke 56 assists (Sargent 21, Bridget Eliason 13, Emmy Spencer 10).

Digs: Wolsey-Wessington 105 digs (Shae Uttecht 25, Lainey Uttecht 24, Kendal Uttecht 20, Roxy Glanzer 15); Burke 103 digs (Elle Johnson 37, Frank 18, Sargent 15, Hausmann 11).

Blocks: Wolsey-Wessington 3 solo, 9 assists (Clemente 3 solo 3 assists, Kendal Uttecht 2 assists, Luce 2 assists, Dorris 2 assists); Burke 3 solo (Paige Bull 3 solo).

Records: Wolsey-Wessington 29-5; Burke 32-4.

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