Prep Volleyball: BBE earns state berth
PIERZ -- When Shyann Kuefler's tip fell to the floor for an ace, it marked the end of a stressful evening for Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa volleyball coach Kevin Weller.
Kuefler's ace was the final point in a toe-to-toe fight with Nevis in the Section 5A championship match Saturday night in Pierz. BBE prevailed 25-22, 26-28, 27-25, 26-24 to advance to the Class A state tournament for the fourth time in six seasons. The Jaguars last went in 2008.
"Anyone who knows anything about volleyball had to love this match," said Weller. "At least it was great to watch from the stands."
Weller admitted he was both nervous and stressed over the numerous leads changes in the match.
BBE trailed by as many as five points in the third game and seven in the fourth game before rallying each time.
"Julie (Hieserich) had a string of ace serves that helped us come back in that third game and Maggie (Gruber) took over at the net a few times in those two games when we really needed it."
BBE (27-2) was seeded No. 3 in the state tournament and will take on Mayer Lutheran (21-11) at 3 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.
Gruber, a senior middle hitter, led the Jaguars with 24 kills in 55 attacks and also had the only three ace blocks on the night. Gruber has 470 kills on the season, No. 6 on the area's career single-season mark.
Hieserich finished with 49 assists and now has 965 for the season. Kuefler and Brittany Roelike finished with 12 kills apiece and Taylor Braegelman added nine.
The Jaguars had 11 ace serves as a team.
"I thought we served very well," said Weller. "Especially in a match where every point was magnified."
BBE 3, Nevis 1
BBE (26-2) 25 26 27 26
Nevis (31-2) 22 28 25 24
Serving: Maggie Gruber 11-11-1, Taylor Braegelman 15-15-2, Brittany Roelike 18-20-2, Raeann Sorenson 16-17-1, Julie Hieserich 25-26-3, Shyann Kuefler 12-14-2 ... Setting: Gruber 5-5-0, Braegelman 2-3-0, Hieserich 136-138-49, Kuefler 1-1-0, Megan Rodgers 10-11-4 ... Hitting: Gruber 49-55-24, Braegelman 30-35-9, Roelike 36-41-12, Sorenson 5-6-0, Hieserich 9-9-1, Kuefler 19-25-12 ... Blocking (aces): Gruber 3 ... Digs: Gruber 5, Braegelman 15, Roelike 13, Sorenson 15, Hieserich 6, Kuefler 1, Brittany Winter 11, Rodgers 3
Statistics not available