Regional sweep: Lady Cyclones earn No. 1 seed for state

Lady Cyclones to face Saratoga at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at state

YODER – Southeast High School qualified for the Class 1A State Volleyball Championships this weekend in Casper as the No. 1 seed from the East after picking up three sweeps at the 1A East Regional Tournament which the Lady Cyclones hosted on Friday and Saturday.

“I’m really proud of how hard they worked. They were mentally in the game and physically in the game,” coach Roxanne Jolovich said. “I told them we would have to play fundamentally sound if we wanted to win the regional championship.”

They did just that.

“We let errors go,” Jolovich said. “We moved on, and we pushed hard every second.”

On Friday afternoon, Southeast toppled Arvada-Clearmont, 25-4, 25-7, 25-14. It was the first time in three years the Lady Panthers had reached regionals.

Southeast jumped out to a 10-0 in the opening set and never looked back in the sweep.

The Lady Cyclones only trailed once the entire match. Arvada-Clearmont scored the first four of the first five points of the second set. After that, Southeast went on to score 24 of the next 27 points.

In the third set, Lady Cyclone junior Kylee Llewellyn’s kill gave her team a 1-0 lead. The Lady Panthers kept things close, trailing only 11-8 after a serving error by Southeast.

The Lady Cyclones managed to limit Arvada-Clearmont to only six more points for the remainder of the match.

Senior Brenna Herring led Southeast with nine kills and 11 assists, while senior Sydney Anderson had eight kills and 12 digs. Senior Kealy Carson added seven kills and 10 digs. Anderson and sophomore Brooklyn Leithead had one solo block each.

The win advanced the Lady Cyclones to the 8 p.m. semifinal round match against the Kaycee Lady Buckaroos.

Kaycee came out and scored the first two points of the match, but back-to-back kills from Carson tied the opening set at four.

Southeast didn’t take the lead until 8-7 of the first set en route to a 25-18, 25-16, 25-21 sweep of the Lady Buckaroos.

The opening set was highlighted by a 7-0 Southeast run which was sparked by consecutive kills by Anderson.

In the second set, Southeast scored the first five points. Back-to-back kills by Herring forced Kaycee to use a quick timeout.

The Lady Cyclones never trailed in the second set.

In the final set, Southeast trailed 6-5 in the early moments, but Anderson’s kill put Southeast in front for good at 9-8.

Southeast’s lead reached as many as five before Kaycee made a late run, cutting the deficit to 16-15. It proved to be as close as the Lady Buckaroos came to regaining the lead and forcing a fourth set.

Herring and Anderson paced the Lady Cyclone attack with 13 kills, while Carson had seven. Senior Shelby Ekwall tallied three aces, while Herring added two. Herring also recorded the team’s only block of the match. Junior Baylie Booth dished out 17 assists.

The win advanced Southeast to the championship match on Saturday against the Northeast Quadrant’s No. 1 seed, the Hulett Red Devils, in front of a full gym.

“It was awesome playing on our home court with so many people here,” Jolovich said. “The cheering, the excitement in the gym makes it fun.”

It was the second meeting of the season between the teams, as the Lady Cyclones swept Hulett back on Oct. 8, 2-0 in the championship of the 1A Jamboree hosted by Kaycee.

The result on Saturday in Yoder was no different. Southeast swept the Red Devils 25-16, 25-16, 25-8.

Southeast never trailed in the match, and Hulett only had the match tied on two occasions.

The Lady Cyclones raced out to a 6-2 lead, taking advantage of multiple errors by the Red Devils.

In the second set, Hulett tied the set at one before Llewellyn’s ace put Southeast into the lead once again. The Lady Cyclones pushed their lead to 10-3 and cruised to the set win.

The third set was much the same.

Hulett tied the set at one, but this time, Southeast only gave up seven more points for the remainder of the math.

The Lady Cyclones had a 9-0 scoring run to pull away for the sweep and the regional championship.

Anderson and Ekwall led the team with nine kills each, while Carson added seven. Ekwall also had a team-high three blocks, while Herring had two. Booth and Herring had 12 assists each.

Southeast takes a 25-5 record and a 17-game winning streak into the state tournament. They will face Saratoga (20-10-2) in the opening round on Thursday at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper. First serve is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

“We need to keep doing what we are doing,” Jolovich said. “We need to keep doing what we know how to do. We keep making sure we are fundamentally sound and doing what we do.”