CHAMBERLAIN – The Cossacks made it look easy.
Especially, Nikole Ziegler.
Sixth-seeded Sioux Valley cruised past No. 11 Pine Ridge 25-9, 25-13, 25-18 in a Class A Sweet 16 volleyball matchup Tuesday evening at the Chamberlain Armory that spanned just 51 minutes.
“We came out well prepared and went through a little adversity at the start, but then handled all the pressure,” said Cossack coach Jill Vincent, whose team qualified for state for the fifth time in six years, including the third consecutively – a first in school history.
Ziegler hit .361 while racking up a match-high 17 kills – six more than the Lady Thorpes had as a team.
“Honestly, my teammates; they keep encouraging me, and their energy, and they just keep pushing me. It’s great. That’s what gets me going,” the senior said when asked about her big match.
Added Vincent, “Our passing was pretty good and then we were able to set it up at the net for her a little bit easier. When they only have one blocker up, I think that gives her a lot of confidence that she can get it though.”
Ziegler also contributed a pair of service aces and nine digs.
“It was really fun. We came out strong; we didn’t let anything get us off-guard,” Ziegler added.
The first-set score stood at 11-8, until the Cossacks rattled off 14 of the next 15 points.
“So big,” Vincent said of the run. “We’ve been working on that all year – for us to have runs but not allow the other team to have runs and score too many points at one time. So it’s big when they side out, we have to get that ball right back; and then just stick with it and keep doing our style of volleyball.”
Lynsey Stevens, who finished with eight kills, two aces, 1 1/2 blocks and 11 digs, posted five kills during the 11-0 spurt that opened the 14-1 spurt.
“I thought we played really well,” she said. “We were really prepared for them and we worked really hard together and our practice worked.”
A Ziegler flurry midway through Set 2 helped the Cossacks pull away.
Tied at 10 in the third, Stevens sandwiched aces around a Ziegler kill as Sioux Valley pulled away to complete the sweep.
Rachel Miller guided the offense with 32 set assists. She tacked on two aces and nine digs.
Miakken Vincent had six kills and 11 digs. Bethany Rennich chipped in with three aces and nine digs.
Pine Ridge finished the season with a 24-7 record.
Sioux Valley, which is 2-0 in Sweet 16 marches (the format began last year), is making its ninth state tournament appearance overall.
The Class A State Volleyball Tournament is Thursday, Nov. 16-Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.
The seeds held true – barely – in the Sweet 16.
The Cossacks (25-4), the No. 6 seed, face Belle Fourche (30-3) in the first round at 7 p.m. CT.
CLASS A SWEET 16 VOLLEYBALL
No. 1 Sioux Falls Christian def. No. 16 Mobridge-Pollock 25-7, 25-6, 25-11
No. 2 Dakota Valley def. No. 15 Elk Point-Jefferson 25-18, 25-16, 25-13
No. 3 Belle Fourche def. No. 14 Winner 25-22, 16-25, 25-17, 18-25, 15-11
No. 4 Madison def. No. 13 Dell Rapids 19-25, 29-31, 26-24, 25-20, 15-3
No. 5 Miller def. No. 12 Rapid City Christian 25-19, 25-15, 25-12
No. 6 Sioux Valley def. No. 11 Pine Ridge 25-9, 25-13, 25-18
No. 7 Parker def. No. 10 Redfield/Doland 26-24, 25-7, 25-16
No. 8 McCook Central/Montrose def. No. 9 Groton Area 23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-21
CLASS A STATE VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
At Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City
Thursday, Nov. 16
No. 1 Sioux Falls Christian (28-4) vs. No. 8 McCook Central/Montrose (19-8), 1 p.m.
No. 4 Madison (25-4) vs. No. 5 Miller (25-4), 2:45 p.m.
No. 3 Belle Fourche (30-3) vs. No. 6 Sioux Valley (25-4), 7 p.m.
No. 2 Dakota Valley (26-3) vs. No. 7 Parker (25-6), 8:45 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 17
SFC/MCM loser vs. Madison/Miller loser, 1 p.m.
BF/SV loser vs. DV/Parker loser, 2:45 p.m.
SFC/MCM winner vs. Madison/Miller winner, 7 p.m.
BF/SV winner vs. DV/Parker winner, 8:45 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 18
Seventh place – 10 a.m.
Fifth place –11:45 a.m.
Third place – 1:30 p.m.
Championship – 7 p.m.