Hawks earn fourth straight trip to state tournament
HARTFORD – The Colman-Egan Hawks are heading to the state tournament for the fourth straight year after defeating Alcester-Hudson in straight sets in a SoDak 16 match at the West Central High School Coliseum on Tuesday night.
The win helped C-E improve to 28-5 on the season and earn the third seed at the SDHSAA Class B State Volleyball Tournament. The Hawks will open as the third seed facing sixth-seeded Castlewood at 7:45 p.m. CT on Nov. 16 at Summit Arena at The Monument in Rapid City.
“The last two weeks, you kind of get anxiety,” Colman-Egan volleyball coach Abigail Dockter said of her team’s run to the tournament. “You want to go obviously, but you’re never sure. You still have to get through some big games to make sure that you kind of get your ticket to go there. So now it’s a huge weight off our shoulders and there’s some relief that it’s finally confirmed, and we start making plans to go back to our favorite spot.”
Coming off a five-set win over Sioux Falls Lutheran to advance to the SoDak 16, the Hawks had a challenge against a Cubs team that came out with plenty of energy in the first set. After Alcester-Hudson jumped out to a 5-1 lead, the Hawks responded with a 10-2 run to take the lead and went on to pick up a 25-17 victory in the first set. Colman-Egan played another solid game in the second set, jumping out to an early lead on the way to a 25-15 victory to put the pressure on the Cubs heading into the third set.
“We kind of made some silly errors early and some hitting errors that we would get figured out,” Dockter said of the first two sets. “They were hitting the ball hard and I just told them that we just had to stay aggressive and make sure we were hitting tonight. Once we started putting them in the court, they had a hard time getting them back up and utilizing their offense.”
With a return trip to state in sight, C-E scored the first eight points of the third set and jumped ahead to a 15-1 lead. The Cubs made an effort to keep things close, but Colman-Egan closed the match out with a 25-9 victory and punched their ticket to the state tournament.
“Based off [the Sioux Falls Lutheran] game where we won the first two sets and the next two didn’t go our way, I had a little bit of anxiety going into it,” Dockter said of the final set. “I was very proud of them coming out strong and they wanted it so bad. They worked hard for it and they were successful.”
Anna Zwart had a strong overall game against the Cubs, collecting a team-high nine kills with three blocks. Brynlee Landis had eight kills with four blocks and 16 digs while Elaina Rhode had six kills and an ace.
Daniela Lee had 16 digs with five kills and three blocks. Presley Luze had 19 digs and two aces. Kaylee Voelker had 16 assists and two aces and Lanie Mousel had 18 assists, 11 digs and two blocks.
Alexis Gray led Alcester-Hudson with 23 digs, six kills and three serves. Baylee Klaschew had 14 digs. Carly Patrick had 12 digs and four kills. Devin Hongslo had 12 digs and four kills. Elly Doering had 11 digs with four blocks and four kills. Emma Moller had eight digs with two kills and a block. Hanna Ahart had 15 assists, 10 digs and a block while Jaeley Christensen had nine digs and Janna Manning had 29 digs.
With the SoDak 16 behind them, the Hawks will look ahead to another trip to the state tournament. While they’ve had plenty of experience at state the past four years, the group still finds excitement in the victory and are looking to add the experience of state champions to their resume.
“It’s just a great feeling,” Doctor said. “They’ve gone from being runners-up to playing in the championship game, to playing in the consolation games and all of that stuff. They know what it takes, and they know what kind of mindset they have to have to go out and be successful.”