The Lady Braves traveled to Mobridge on September 11 to participate in the Mobridge-Pollock Invitational Volleyball Tournament, which involved eight teams from around the region: Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, Herreid/Selby, Ipswich, McIntosh, Mobridge-Pollack, North Central, Stanley County, and Timber Lake. With only one Lady Braves match played so far this season (They beat McLaughlin.) due to COVID wreaking havoc at the start of the school year; and not to mention the nonexistent 2020 season; this tournament was a great chance for Coach Mary Mitchell to see how well-prepared her team is for the rest of the 2021 season. More importantly, it was a chance to gauge the team’s cohesiveness after long droughts of not being able to practice, let alone play.
The first match was against the Stanley County Lady Buffaloes. It started off well behind the big hitting of Senior Cassie Carter and Junior Sydnee White Feather. Junior Lainey Peacock set these two up to smash one kill shot after another to grab a quick lead for the team and increased her own Assist tally.
Once the Buffaloes crawled back to tie the match at 8 points apiece, it became a dog fight. The score was tied six more times before the Buffaloes gained the edge after the final tie at 19 points to win the opening set 20 to 25.
The Braves started off hot again in the second set, but were plagued with missed hits. As the Buffaloes turned up the heat, the Braves let the set get away from them but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The best play was put in by LeAunah Farlee at the 4-to-8-mark when she hustled to get to a ball that looked like it had no chance. She got the save and put the ball back in the air for the Braves to score their fifth point of the set. Unfortunately, the overall slippage in their play caused the Brave to lose their match 12 to 25 and they fell into the Consolation Bracket.
The Braves played excellently in the first set of the second match against the McIntosh Tigers. They jumped out to a big lead – 10 to 5 – on big hitting by Cassie Carter and outstanding defense by everyone, especially Sydnee White Feather up front. Cassie recorded a kill; as did Sydnee White Feather, Lainey Peacock, and Lauryn Keckler. Sydnee had the most unusual and spectacular kill shot out of the four. She saved the ball from hitting the floor and sent it back across the net to a spot where the Tigers weren’t to make the score 11 to 7. The Braves took the first set 25 to 17 through a great team effort.
In the second set the Braves looked like they might falter. They had to work hard for each and every point to tie the score at 9 apiece. With the score at 12 all, the Braves put out a great team effort again and won 25 to 17. This put them in the Consolation Championship against the Timber Lake Panthers.
In their third and final match of the tournament the Braves came out sluggish and it cost them. They lost the first set 12 to 25. There were some sparks of life though. Cassie Carter got her kill shots in and Lauryn Keckler and Sydnee White Feather blocked shots upfront.
Even through the Braves turned in their best play of the day in the final set, the Panthers had the advantage and the Braves came up short again. Cassie Carter and Sydnee White Feather smashed balls for kills on excellent setting by Lainey Peacock. What had to make Coach Mitchell the happiest was the backline play of her team. They challenged each shot by the Panthers and saved balls their opponents through were kills; turning them into offense fodder for themselves. The Braves thew up a defensive wall behind the likes of Arianna Anderson, KaiLoni Johnson, and Ahmyli Clark. Timber Lake had to attack and attack again to eke out a victory to claim third place with a score of 22 to 25.
The tournament was a good litmus test for Coach Mitchell to use to refocus her team for the rest of the season. The girls clearly showed lots of promise and potential. They made mistakes but nothing that can’t be worked out as they continue to improve and become the force Coach Mitchell believes they can be. The player who shined the brightest was Cassie Carter. Her overall play got her selected to the Mobridge Tournament All Tourney Team.