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Makayla Keffeler spikes the ball past Spearfish middle blocker Karstin Dupont and setter Lily McCarty on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at West Gym.
Photo by Tim Potts
Makayla Keffeler spikes the ball past Spearfish middle blocker Karstin Dupont and setter Lily McCarty on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at West Gym.

Big Momentum Swing Allows Spartans to Beat Scoopers in Five Sets


Terry Anderson, KBHB Radio Sports - September 22, 2020

STURGIS, S.D. – The Sturgis Scooper volleyball team was tied with the Spearfish Spartans at 19 points apiece in set three, just six points away from a three-set sweep over their longtime rival. Mental errors and lack of execution by the Scoopers, along with a challenge to her players by the Spearfish head coach turned the tide in a tight match, as the Spartans won set three and dominated sets four and five at West Gymnasium on Tuesday night, Sept. 22.

The Spartans beat the Scoopers in a hard-fought, five set match: 24-26, 23-25, 25-20, 25-16 and 15-9.

Due to illnesses on the team because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scoopers had not played a match since beating Custer in three sets on Sept. 8. The two-week layoff was not apparent early in the match, as the Scoopers used pinpoint setting by Joellen Cano and devastating kills by Brinley Pickett in set one to down the Spartans, 26-24. Pickett had seven kills in the set.

Set two was back and forth, with neither team leading by more than four points. Kills by Lexi Long and Olivia Vollmer and a timely block by Jillian Beck allowed the Scoopers to take a 23-19 lead late in set two. Spearfish scored four straight points to tie the set at 23 before Long set up outside hitter Makayla Keffler for a kill to take a 24-23 lead. A mistake by the Spartans on the next point gave Sturgis a 25-23 win in set two.

The Scoopers started off set three with two aces by Keffeler to take an early 6-3 lead. Spearfish closed the gap to tie things up at 7 apiece a few minutes later. Kills by Cano and Long gave Sturgis an 18-16 lead, before Spearfish head coach Christine Skoglund called a time out and issued a challenge to her players, telling them they weren’t playing to their potential. The Spartans responded in the final minutes of set three, scoring the last five points to extend the match and edge the Scoopers, 25-20.

Sturgis jumped out to a 7-4 lead in set four until Spartan junior Stella Marcus scorched the Scoopers with three aces to tie up the set at seven. Those aces helped shift the momentum in set four as Spearfish went on a 14-3 run to take a 21-10 lead on their way to an easy 25-16 win to force a deciding fifth set.

The Scoopers could not find any space in the Spartan defense in set five, as junior Karstin Dupont was a force in the middle, helping Spearfish to 7-3 lead. Sturgis fought back to within two points with an ace by Vollmer to cut the Spartan lead to 9-7, but the Scoopers ran out of gas as Spearfish won set five, 15-9 to take the match.

The Spartans were led by Dupont, with 11 kills, six blocks, three aces and one dig with sophomore setter Lily McCarty adding two kills, 19 assists and three aces. Marcus chipped in nine kills, seven aces and one assist. Spearfish improves to 3-5 on the season.

Brinley Pickett had 10 kills, two blocks and one ace for Sturgis. Keffler tallied eight kills and two aces with Cano scoring six kills, 20 assists and four aces. The Scoopers fall to 2-3.

Sturgis hosts the Douglas Patriots on Thursday, Sept. 24 at West Gymnasium. First serve is scheduled for 7pm.



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