In a breathless, classic matchup, Pierre did gain its first AA championship berth, but the Lady Govs were stretched to five games in a see-saw struggle before prevailing 21-25, 25-15, 25-18, 13-25, 17-15, at the Sioux Falls Arena on Friday night.
“I knew it would be tough match,” said Pierre coach Kacy
Kienholz. “Roosevelt has the experience of moving on and we
Roosevelt indeed played like a defending champion not ready to relinquish the crown just yet. The Rough Riders rebounded from a 19-15 deficit in Game 1, outscoring Pierre 10-2 down the stretch.
Pierre claimed Games 2 and 3, but struggled in Game 4.
“There were times, like in that Game 4, that they seemed like a totally different team,” Kienholz said of the Lady Govs.
In the pivotal Game 5 Gina Geffre’s ace gave the Lady Govs 13-10 lead, but Roosevelt bounced back on a pair of Pierre hitting errors. A lift called on Roosevelt put Pierre a match point, but Alyssa Chambers’ kill kept the Rough Riders close.
Polly Gill’s kill gave Pierre a 16-15 advantage, and when Heather Goehring’s attack found the wrong side of the net, the Pierre bench went into delirium.
“This shows the true heart of our team and how badly they wanted it,” Kienholz said. “We made errors. We were down at times. They were able to play through it and kept their heads. You don’t give up. They were determined to get to that state championship.”
Gill wound up with 16 kills to lead Pierre offensively, along with Stephanie Paluch (10 kills) and Sam Flynn (eight kills).
Chambers had 13 kills, four aces and five blocks, and Goehring had 19 digs for Roosevelt.
“This game could have gone either way,” Roosevelt coach Holly Lynch said. “I thought our girls put up a great fight. They fought hard.”
“Pierre’s a great team,” Lynch said “They made their points when it really counted “
Roosevelt, 17-7, will play cross-town rival Sioux Falls Washington for third place today at 10 a.m. MST. Pierre (22-0) will face Rapid City Stevens for the AA championship at about 7 p.m.