YODER – The Southeast High School volleyball team avenged a loss in last season’s semifinal round of the Class 1A state tournament on Saturday afternoon in Yoder.
“Playing Kaycee at the state tournament was very intense,” coach Roxanne Jolovich said. “Both teams had good plays, and it was back and forth all five sets. It was something I feel like should have been a championship match, but it wasn’t how the bracket fell.”
This time around, it was the Lady Cyclones who got the best of the Kaycee Lady Buckaroos 3-1 (27-25, 25-23, 22-25, 26-24) in a tightly contested match throughout.
It was also the first match of the season against a Class 1A opponent after playing a string of 3A teams and one out-of-state opponent.
“I think it helps us a lot. I love going to (Douglas) because we see tough teams,” Jolovich said. “We don’t always come out with a win, but we learn a lot. If you can walk away from every set and every match learning something and finding something to improve on, you will get better as the season goes.”
That experience helped propel Southeast to the win on Saturday.
“It was a big win,” Jolovich said. “We had to work really hard for it.”
Kaycee came out in the first set, scoring the first three points, before senior Kealy Carson ace serve tied the set at six apiece. An attack error by the visitors gave Southeast its first lead of the game, and it was a lead which the Lady Cyclones held through to the third set.
Southeast’s lead never reached more than five at 7-2 early in the second set following a kill by senior Brenna Herring and an ace by Kylee Llewellyn. However, Kaycee chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to 24-23 at the end of the set before Herring capped it off another kill.
In the third set, the Lady Cyclones looked to complete the sweep, scoring the first two points, but the Lady Buckaroos tied the match at 10. Kaycee scored four of the next five points.
Southeast regained the lead briefly at 15-14 after an ace serve from junior Baylie Booth, but the Lady Buckaroos scored the next five points and never trailed the remainder of the set to prevent the sweep.
“I told the girls, sometimes productive struggle is the best thing for us,” Jolovich said. “We have to learn how to push through. We have to learn how to comeback from being down – one ball at a time, one set at a time. We did that today, and as long as we can keep that mentality moving forward, we’ll keep improving.”
In the fourth set, the Lady Cyclones fell behind early and trailed by as many as 18-13, forcing Southeast to use its second timeout of the set.
Coming out of the break, Southeast scored the next four points but didn’t take the lead until 23-22.
The Lady Cyclones capped off the game with a Sydney Anderson kill and block to secure the victory.
Herring led the team with 17 kills, five blocks, seven digs and 16 assists, while Anderson had eight kills, an ace, a block and 21 digs. Carson added 10 kills, four aces and 15 digs, while senior Shelby Ekwall had nine kills and 10 digs. Booth tallied a team-high 20 assists.
The Lady Cyclones travel to Rock River and Hanna-Elk Mountain on Saturday, Sept. 17. They play at Rock River at 11 a.m. and HEM at 3:30 p.m.