Friday, May 24, 2019

Eagle Butte
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Volleyball competition poses steep challenge for area schools

There are 88 high school teams in the Class B volleyball division for South Dakota and 54 teams in the Class A division.

Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School is the only Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) school in Class A. The other area schools — Tiospaye Topa, Timber Lake, Dupree and Takini — are all Class B schools.

Each division is broken into eight regions, and each region competes at the end of the regular season for participation in the Round of 16 tournament.

Regular season seed points determine who plays who in the regional tournament, and the top two teams from each region play in the Round of 16.

The eight winners of the Round of 16 then advance to the State competition.

Classes A and B regions still have a system similar to the district system of elimination the Round of 16 and Round of 8 tournaments replaced, but Class AA’s seasonal seed points determine who plays who in the Round of 16.

None of this changes the fact that local schools, especially Class B schools, have a lot of competition across the state, and paying attention to the successes and failures of teams in other regions while working to be the best in the school’s own region is still a smart move for the different teams, especially if they have aspirations for a Round of 8 appearance.

Timber Lake, Dupree, Tiospaye Topa and Takini are all in Region 8 of their class.

Currently, Timber Lake is seeded third in the region behind Faith and Lemmon. Faith took eighth place last year in the state competition, and this year they have a 21-1 record. Timber Lake has a 15-11 record.

Dupree (4-10) is seeded seventh, and Tiospaye Topa (3-6) and Takini (1-5) are ninth and tenth respectively out of the 11 schools in the region.

Timber Lake is in the top third of the state based on seed points, ranked overall at 30.

C-EB competes in Region 6 of the Class A division, and is seeded second behind Miller, which has most seed points of all the Class A teams in the state with a record of 21-2.  C-EB’s record is 14-10.

If C-EB can hold their own in the regional competition, their real challenge will be in the Round of 16, potentially against teams with fewer seasonal losses, and they would not likely face Miller until the Round of 8 competition.

Miller took seventh at state last year, and Sioux Falls Christian took first. 

Based on seed points as of Oct. 7, C-EB is placed 26 across the state out of the 54 Class A teams.

The only CRST area school to make it to the state competition in volleyball, according to the South Dakota High School Association website, is Timber Lake, and that was in 2012.   

“A team’s seed point average will be determined by dividing the total number of seed points earned by the total number of contests played against varsity opponents, regardless of the opponent’s classification,” according to the SDHSAA volleyball rule book.

The rule book also states that teams are not penalized for playing teams in a lower division unless you are in the AA division, in which case the team can loose two points for playing a Class A varsity team, and three seed points for playing a Class B varsity team.

However, Class A and B teams can earn two seed points for playing a team one level higher and three seed points for playing a team two levels higher.

The seed points seem to reward teams that aim at higher levels of competition, if the higher team is willing to risk losing seed points to compete with lower division teams.

The number of teams in the state competing for state recognition in volleyball shows that any team earning a spot in the Round of 16 or the Round of 8 are deserving, but it also shows how competitive the game is across the state, and how hard it is to get into the state competition.