BELLE FOURCHE — Belle Fourche outlasted Lead-Deadwood three games to two Tuesday night to earn the Region 8A volleyball tournament championship and a chance at the state level at Edwin Petranek Armory.
Lead-Deadwood won the first game 25-19. Belle Fourche won the second game 25-16 and the third game 27-25. Lead-Deadwood earned a 25-20 win in the fourth game. The Broncs recorded a 15-8 victory in the fifth game to win the match and qualify for the state A tournament next week in Aberdeen.
Fehrin Ward was asked what was going through her mind as players and fans milled around the floor after the awards ceremony. “Not much,” the Belle Fourche senior said. “It has not really hit me.”
Ward said Belle Fourche played its best when it swung at the ball. She said Lead-Deadwood had the most success when it was able to tip the ball.
“It means so much. We knew we had to win,” senior Taylor Gubbrud said when asked about the region championship. Classmate Liz Day said this moment is what the team has been working for all summer and throughout the season.
Lead-Deadwood took a 1-0 edge in the fifth game. Hanah Cerkoney’s serving helped the Golddiggers score the next three points for a 4-0 lead.
Belle Fourche gained side out and trimmed the margin to 4-1. The Broncs then scored 10 straight points to build an 11-4 cushion. That charge featured three attacking kills apiece by Morgan Ham and Ward. Gubbrud contributed a serving ace.
Miranda Gallagher’s attacking kill gave the Golddiggers side out and brought the visitors within 11-5. Lead-Deadwood got no closer than five points the rest of the game, which Belle Fourche won 15-8.
“We played nervous tonight and were unsure of some things,” Belle Fourche head coach Loree Schlichtemeier said. “I give Lead-Deadwood a ton of credit; they played an amazing match.”
Schlichtemeier credited Gubbrud’s serving in the fifth game as the key to the match. “Those serves were very important,” Schlichtemeier said. “They got us a bit fired up and re-focused.”
Belle Fourche (29-3) takes a 13-match winning streak into the state tournament. The Broncs will make their fourth state appearance. They won the A title in 1992 and also reached state in 1995 and 2012.
“I am very, very proud of each and every player,” Golddiggers’ head coach Erica Lieske said. “They played with such passion and intensity.”
Lieske said Lead-Deadwood’s players could not quite get their feet under them in the fifth game, and Belle Fourche took advantage.
“They played hard and did everything we asked them to,” said Lieske, whose team finished the season 19-9. “They are role models now.”
Statistical leaders follow.
Attacking kills — Belle Fourche: Fehrin Ward 24, Morgan Ham 11, Taylor Gubbrud 10. Lead-Deadwood: Miranda Gallagher 15, Nash Williams 8.
Serving — Belle Fourche: Taylor Gubbrud 32 for 33 with 4 aces, Fehrin Ward 11 for 16 with 5 aces, Karli Jewett 14 for 15. Lead-Deadwood: Ashley Hansen 5 aces, Jade Derby 4 aces.
Digs — Belle Fourche: Taylor Gubbrud 28, Karli Jewett 20, Fehrin Ward 17, Nicole Kling 16. Lead-Deadwood: Amber Auld 23, Miranda Gallagher 23.
Set assists — Belle Fourche: Liz Day 40. Lead-Deadwood: Hanah Cerkoney 17, Kaitlin Sulentic 15.
Blocks — Belle Fourche: Morgan Ham 2 solo and 1 assist. Lead-Deadwood: Miranda Gallagher 9, Nash Williams 1.5.
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