Shane Merrill | Sports Writer
Off a five set win against Baltic, the one-loss Parker volleyball squad traveled to Sioux Falls last Saturday to play four of the toughest teams in the area. Size of school didn’t matter, as the Pheasants played number one ranked ‘AA’ Sioux Falls O’Gorman, number one ranked ‘B’ Northwester, number two ranked ‘A’ Dakota Valley and number one ranked ‘Iowa 2A’ Western Christian.
Parker battled hard on the day, pushing the top teams to the limits, but in the end came away with no wins, but a pile of big game experience.
Parker vs. O’Gorman
In their first match Parker faced a daunting task in #1 ranked ‘AA’ Sioux Falls O’Gorman. The Pheasants did not fold in the match, taking quick leads in both sets before the Knights went to work. The Pheasants were plagued with several net violations, and the overall hitting of the Knights was too much to overcome as O’Gorman went on to get the wins 25-15 and 25-18. Leading Parker was Brooke Berens with seven kills while Shelby Lang and Morgen Carlson had three apiece. Berens and Carlson also had four blocks apiece while Breana Jensen had eight digs and Cierra Mohr 13 assists.
Parker vs. Northwestern
In their second match of the day Parker faced class ‘B’ number one Northwester. The Pheasants matched up well with the Wildcats, and were nearly able to pull an upset.
Parker raced ahead early in set one of the match, but back came NW, powering down the final points for a 25-21 win.
The second set was all Parker, as the Pheasants sent frustration to NW, with both teams tied 4-4. Berens went on a tear at the serve line for Parker, dropping three straight aces, followed by several kills, pushing Parker up 12-4 on the Wildcats. Parker was able to coast from there, winning 25-17 and evening the match at 1-1.
Parker took the early lead in the third game, but struggle to maintain the consistency, with Northwester taking the third 25-16 and the match 2-1.
Leading Parker was Berens with four aces and five kills while Lang hammered 13 kills. Carlson and Ryleigh Andersen also had five kills apiece. Lang also led the defense with 10 digs while Mohr had 29 assists.
Parker vs. Dakota Valley
In their third match of the day Parker faced number 2 ranked Dakota Valley. The Panthers were able to get the win in straight sets, 25-18 and 25-18. Berens led the offense with seven kills and Lang posted four. Jensen and Lexi Even both had six digs while Mohr dished out 17 assists.
Parker vs. Western Christian
In their final match of the day Parker faced Iowa perennial power Western Christian. The Pheasants once again took the match to the brink, but fell 2-1.
Parker was able to rally to a victory in set one against the Wolfpack, going ahead and hanging on for a 25-22 victory.
The Pheasants nearly shut the door in the second, coming within a point of winning, but ultimately fell 26-24, evening the match at 1-1. Western Christian used the momentum from the win to push past Parker in the final set, 25-10 sending Parker home 0-4 on the day.
Lang led the Pheasants with nine kills while Berens and Andersen had six. Sarah Herlyn and Carlson led the defense at the net with five and four blocks respectively, while in the back row Jensen had 13 digs and Lang 12. Mohr also dished out 18 assists.
Madison slides past Parker
Parker welcomed Madison to town last Tuesday night, hot off a tough but experienced weekend. The Bulldogs had just two losses on their record, and in the end were able to pull off a come from behind win 3-1.
Parker led from start to finish in the first set, putting on a show of just how good they can play. Everything was clicking for the Pheasants who took the win 25-15.
Roles were totally reversed in the second set, as Madison powered their way to the win, taking the victory 25-14 and evening the match at 1-1.
The Bulldogs rallied out front once again in the third set, leading 23-17. Parker came all the way back pulling within a point, 24-23, only to have Madison take the set 25-23.
Parker needed the fourth set to keep the match alive, and hung tough, but once again the pesky Bulldogs were too much to overcome with Madison taking the win 25-22 and the match 3-1.
Brooke Berens led the Pheasants with 13 kills while Shelby Lang was close behind with 10. Berens and Sarah Herlyn also led the defense at the net with five blocks apiece while Breana Jensen led the back row with 24 digs. Lang also had 12 digs on the night while Cierra Mohr finished with 33 assists.
The tough matches kept coming for the Pheasants as they faced one loss Garretson on Thursday.
Pheasants hand Garretson second loss
The Parker Pheasant volleyball rebounded last week, handing Garretson their second loss of the season. Parker had just dispatched the Blue Dragons two weeks’ prior in the BEC championship, handing them their first loss, and once again the Pheasants were too much for Garretson to overcome, rallying to a 3 set sweep in front of a loud crowd.
It was in fact Garretson who took an early lead in set one, rallying ahead by several points and forcing a Parker time out. The Pheasants kept pecking away at the deficit, finally rallying ahead late in the game. Key kills from Shelby Lang and Sarah Herlyn were enough to put the Pheasants ahead for good, 25-23.
The second set was also close, albeit the Pheasants and Blue Dragons were able to keep pace the entire set. With things knotted at 17, Parker once again used several key plays down the stretch to take the win 25-22 and take a 2-0 lead.
It was all Parker in the final frame, as the Pheasant crowd put their loud stamp of approval on the set, with the Pheasants taking a 25-17 win and taking the match 3-0.
Lang led the offense with a whopping 16 kills and 22 digs. Sarah Herlyn also had eight kills. The back row was busy with Grace DeWald posting 18 digs, Breana Jensen 18 and and Lexi Even with 16. Cierra Mohr also had 34 assists and 11 digs.
The win put Parker, Chester, and Garretson all tied in regular season conference standings with one loss apiece.
Up next Parker faced Lennox before traveling to the annual Chester Classic on Saturday.