MONTICELLO – The Black Hawk volleyball team started off the 2017 season on a strong note by placing second overall at the annual Six Rivers Conference Tournament held at Monticello High School on Saturday, Aug. 26.
The Lady Warriors went 2-2-1 overall at the tournament on the way to a runner-up finish. Darlington finished first in their pool but fell to Black Hawk in the semifinal round of the gold division to go 3-1 on the day, while Belmont finished 0-3-1 on the day.
Black Hawk advanced to the championship round after placing second in pool play with a 1-1-1 record. The Warriors swept Highland, 25-11, 25-21, split with Juda, 25-20, 19-25, and fell to River Ridge, 19-25, 14-25.
In the semifinal round, the Warriors knocked off the defending champion Redbirds, 25-22, 12-25, 16-14, to make the finals and set up a rematch with River Ridge. The Timberwolves wrapped up a perfect day by sweeping the Warriors, 11-25, 21-25, to win the title with a 5-0 record. The ‘Wolves did not drop a set during the day.
Freshman Bailey Butler pounded down 22 kills to lead Black Hawk at the net, while her sister, sophomore Hannah, added 20 kills and five blocks. Senior setter Hannah Herbst dished out 48 assists on the day.
“It’s definitely a good start; but, being so early in the season, we found plenty of things that we need to work on as well. We only served at 85 percent on the day– I would like to improve that, and I’m still trying to figure out a rotation that is going to work best for us. We did a lot of subbing, which led to many communication errors. With that being said, I was very pleased that we could make some of these errors and still end the day in second place,” said Black Hawk head coach Rachel Wolff.
The Redbirds defeated host Monticello, 25-22, 25-15, and Belmont, 25-12, 25-21, and split with Pecatonica, 23-25, 25-19, in pool play.
Senior Kennedy Rankin pounded down a team-high 28 kills with junior Kathleen Mathias adding 19 kills on the day. Junior Roxi Reuter distributed 41 assists, and senior Gabrielle Steiner handed out 29 assists.
The Braves split with the Vikings, 10-25, 25-16, and were edged by the host Ponies, 22-25, 24-26, in pool play. In the silver division semifinal round, Belmont lost to Juda, 25-15, 15-25, 16-18.
Senior Briana Ernst led the Braves with 48 digs, 18 kills and six blocks. Senior Kassandra Palzkill added 15 kills and 11 blocks, while junior Nicole Knebel tallied 37 assists, 24 digs and four aces on the day.
“We showed some inconsistency and some momentary lapses that caused us to miss out on some big opportunities throughout the day. It was the first time this group has played together against an opponent and it showed in some key moments, but that is not to say that the day was a bust. We had some bright spots that definitely show what we will be capable of as the year continues and we gel,” noted Belmont head coach Matt Bockhop.
“I was happy with how scrappy we were at times, especially defensively, we went through stretches where we were tough to score against and that is something that I look forward to seeing improve even further as the year goes on. We definitely found some spots to work on as well.”
At Shullsburg, on Saturday, Aug. 26, the host Lady Miners posted a 2-2 record on the day en route to a fifth-place finish at the nine-team Six Rivers East-West Jamboree.
The Miners went 1-1 in pool, rolling over Albany, 25-9, 25-5, to start the day and giving eventual runner-up Southwestern all they could handle before falling, 22-25, 25-27.
In the silver pool, the Miners defeated Six Rivers West rival Cassville, 25-22, 25-16, and then fell to Argyle, 25-22, 25-22, to end up second in the pool and fifth overall on the day.
“I thought the tournament went well for us. We were short players in bracket play and were still able to do some good things. I’m excited to see what the future holds for our program,” said Shullsburg head coach Hannah Pick.
Sophomore setter Reva Spillane handed out 25 assists for the Miners. Sophomore Calli Jerry tallied 18 digs and senior Faith Ubersox added 15 digs, five kills and two blocks.
Junior Maggie Gleason led the team with seven service aces. Freshman Kayla Klotz had 12 kills, three aces and two blocks on the day, while fellow frosh Layla Alt recorded 10 kills, 10 assists, nine digs and four aces.
Benton went 4-0 on the court to finish first at the tournament.
Black Hawk plays at Juda on Thursday, Aug. 31, and hosts Argyle on Tuesday, Sept. 5, in key early season Six Rivers East matches.
Darlington opens SWAL play hosting Cuba City on Thursday, Aug. 31, and the Redbirds will participate along with Belmont at the Richland Center Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 2, beginning at 9 a.m.
The Braves also have Six Rivers West matches at home against Benton on Thursday, Aug. 31, and Shullsburg on Tuesday, Sept. 5. The Miners have a key home SRW match against River Ridge on Thursday, Aug. 31.
SIX RIVERS TOURNAMENT
Gold Division: 1st– River Ridge def. Black Hawk, 2-0; Prelims– Black Hawk def. Darlington, 2-1; River Ridge def. Pecatonica, 2-0.
Silver Division: 5th– Juda def. Highland, 2-1; Prelims– Juda def. Belmont, 2-1; Highland vs. Monticello, 2-0.
Pool Play Results– Pool A: Darlington 5-1, Pecatonica 4-2, Monticello 2-4, Belmont 1-5. Pool B: River Ridge 6-0, Black Hawk 3-3, Juda 3-3, Highland 0-6.
At Monticello, on Saturday, Aug. 26
SIX RIVERS TOURNAMENT
Championship Play: Gold Pool: Benton 2-0, Southwestern 1-1, Potosi 0-2. Silver Pool: Argyle 2-0, Shullsburg 1-1, Cassville 0-2. Bronze Pool: Ithaca 2-0, Albany 1-1, Weston 0-2.
Pool Play Results– Pool A: Southwestern 2-0, Shullsburg 1-1, Albany 0-2. Pool B: Benton 2-0, Argyle 1-1, Ithaca 0-2. Pool C: Potosi 2-0, Cassville 1-1, Weston 0-2.
At Shullsburg, on Saturday, Aug. 26