Shane Merrill | Writer
After a one-year hiatus, the Parker volleyball team is headed back to the big dance. The Pheasants used a team effort to push past Baltic in their SoDak 16 match, which was postponed one day due to a snow storm. Both towns packed the Parker gym, and in the end Parker ran with a 3-1 victory.
Total dominance. That’s what described the first set for the Pheasants. The host team wasted little time jumping ahead of the visitors thanks to kills from Shelby Lang, Brooke Berens and Ryleigh Andersen. The offensive attack forced two Baltic time outs but it did little to break momentum and Parker was never in any danger, winning 25-13.
The second set started as a back and forth game, with both teams knotted at 6-6. Parker then went on a six-point rally, and held on, taking a 24-14 lead, before the visiting Bulldogs pulled within six, 24-18, only to see Parker finish the set 25-18, leading the match 2-0.
The third was a close set, with both teams battling for momentum. Baltic seemingly grabbed it first, going up 9-4, but Parker came right back going ahead 10-9. It was tit for tat from there, but with both teams tied at 18 the Bulldogs rallied again, going ahead 23-18. Parker tried to claw their way to life, but had little room for error, the Pheasants managed to come all the way back within 24-23, thanks in part to aces from Lang. Parker couldn’t get over the final hump, with Baltic edging Parker 25-23.
Not wanting to take the match to five, Parker closed things out in the fourth set, quickly going ahead and coasting to the victory, 25-15, punching their ticket to the state ‘A’ tournament.
Lang led the Parker effort posting a double-double with 14 kills and 13 digs while adding three aces. Brooke Berens also had 12 kills and four blocks while Andersen had 13 kills and four blocks.
Breana Jensen had a monster night in the back row with 25 digs while Lexi Even had 14. Cierra Mohr also dished out a whopping 44 assists and had 18 digs.
“I am extremely proud of the girls for working hard and finishing the game. They never gave up,” remarked head coach Carly Rozell.
The Pheasants now travel to Watertown this Thursday through Saturday, opening the tournament on Thursday night against #2 seed Hill City at 7 p.m. Parker has qualified for every state tournament since 2009, excluding 2013 and 2019. This will be the first state tournament with second year head coach Carly Rozell.
“I am extremely excited for the state tournament. It will be a new experience for me, and I am glad I will get to do it with this group of girls. We have tons of potential and I hope we can continue to work hard and to get what they want,” she concluded.