Bulldogs come back to beat Cossacks, 3-2

Andrew Holtan/Register: Sioux Valley’s Ashley Bjerke hits the ball during five set loss to De Smet on Tuesday at the Cossack Center in Volga. The Cossacks won the first two sets, but the Bulldogs won the final three sets to secure the comeback victory.

VOLGA – Sioux Valley took the first two sets against De Smet Tuesday night, but the Bulldogs won the final three sets to defeat the Cossacks in volleyball.

The Cossacks (4-5) won the two close sets to start the match by the score of 25-23 and 25-21. De Smet dominated the third set with a 25-17 victory and forced a fifth set with a 25-20 win in set four. The score was tied 10-10 in the fifth set, but the Bulldogs (5-4) went on a 5-1 run to win the set and the match.

“[I told the team after the game] that I’m proud of them,” said Sioux Valley head coach Jill Vincent. “They have to keep working hard and play with some confidence. When we’re not confident we make too many errors and mistakes on our side and play a little tense and nervous. So we have to shake that out of our young team.”

The Cossacks were led by Reagan Johnson who had 12 kills and seven digs. Ashley Bjerke had 19 assists, 10 digs and five kills. Kaedyn Sapp had nine kills and five digs. Katie Richarz had 10 digs and Julia Steffensen had seven.

Kennadi Buchholz had a big match for De Smet. She led the Bulldogs with 19 kills and 13 digs. Jada Burke had nine digs and seven kills. Emma Albrecht had 17 assists and 10 digs. Katelyn Halverson had 18 assists and Cori Birkel had 12 digs.

“De Smet’s middle hitter, Buchholz, kind of caught on fire there in the third and fourth sets for sure. That was hard to defend and I think it kind of took the sails out of our defense and we couldn’t get the attacks to go in,” Vincent said.

Despite the loss, Vincent said she believes her team has matured and is growing so far this season.

“We’ve learned a lot about each other. We’ve overcome a lot. We’ve had a couple games where we’ve come back from down six, but now we’re just kind of not ready to do that, and other teams are getting better as well. So we need to stay on top of it and not let the other team go on so many runs.

The Cossacks travel top Lake Preston Saturday for the Lake Preston Tournament. Vincent said her team needs to forget this loss and come out with confidence this weekend.

“We have to work on our mental focus to make sure we’re focused on every ball and every little job, and trust that your teammates are going to be behind you. Don’t try to do their job. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but it has come a long ways. We’re improving every time we step on the court,” Vincent said.

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