Bison return to state tournament
By Jarann Johnson
Hazen gained revenge in their Region 7 championship showdown at Dickinson Trinity last week. Dickinson Trinity won a match 3-1 earlier this season over the Hazen Bison in Region 7 play, the Trinity win was Hazen’s only Region 7 loss.
Hazen, the No. 2-seed, won the championship match over the No. 1-seed Dickinson Trinity 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 25-22, 18-25, 15-12). Early on it looked like Dickinson Trinity had enough to top Hazen for the second time this season.
During the first set Hazen and Trinity battled to a tie four times early on. At 14-14 Hazen seemed to gain control of the match going on a 3-0 run, which was started when senior outside Steph Ziegler won a joust at the net.
Hazen didn’t keep control of the set, though, and the teams locked into a fifth tie at 19-19. A lifting error gave Trinity a 20-19 lead. Then things got worse, the lift turned into a 4-0 Trinity run, which was aided by Trinity senior Kennedy Keator’s two kills.
Trinity led 23-20 and closed the set out, winning 25-21 for a 1-0 lead.
Hazen seemed completely focused on making sure to tie the match in the second set. Hazen jumped out to an early 6-1 lead, which was keyed by two blocks from senior middle Krista Slaubaugh.
Hazen seemed to be keeping control of the set later, when they led 14-7. Trinity did counter putting together several 2-0 and 3-0 runs, but never got closer than two points. Hazen won the set 25-22.
Slaubaugh caused a lot of trouble during the set for Trinity, accounting for 5 kills, 3 blocks and an ace during the set.
Hazen carried their positive momentum from the second set into the third set, starting on a 5-0 run. Beth Leier, a junior defensive specialist, recorded two aces during the run.
Hazen turned their hot start into a 9-2 lead. At 11-5 is when Trinity countered, going on a 4-0 run to cut Hazen’s lead to 11-9 on a Keator Kill.
Again, that was as close as Trinity could get. Trinity couldn’t break Hazen’s lead and fell 25-22 in the third set. Hazen recorded the set-winning point on a Trinity hitting error.
Hazen tried to keep Trinity at bay in the fourth set and finish off the match but Trinity wouldn’t let it happen. The set was tied four times before Trinity gained control with a 4-0 run.
Trinity’s run was capped by a Madi Jahner kill, making their lead 16-12. Slaubaugh ended the run with a kill.
After Slaubaugh’s kill Hazen battled back slowly to tie the game at 18-18. Trinity went on another 4-0 run to gain control of the set.
Keator started the run with two consecutive kills and Brianna Soehren finished the run with two kills, making Trinity’s lead 22-18. Hazen couldn’t find an answer and Keator smacked in two more kills giving her team a 25-18 win to force a fifth and final frame.
The fifth set started with Slaubaugh earning a kill and sprouted Hazen to a 3-0 run. Trinity got close to forcing a tie, at 4-5, but Ziegler was there to reinforce her team’s lead with a kill.
Trinity didn’t get nervous down 6-4 and recuperated with their own run. Soehren recorded a kill and Keator added two consecutive kills, giving Trinity a 7-6 lead.
Hazen senior setter Kayla Lindquist had an answer, making the score 7-7. The set seemed headed for a dramatic finish with two more ties at 9-9 and 11-11.
Sophomore outside Raquel Doll broke the last tie with a kill, then Slaubaugh added a kill, giving Hazen a 13-11 lead. Trinity pulled within one point on a questionable line judgment that Hazen fans strongly disagreed with.
The questionable call didn’t stop Slaubaugh. Instead of pouting she plastered the ball down for a kill, giving her team a 14-12 lead. With the game at match point Trinity was called for a violation while scrambling to the ball, ending the match 15-12 in Hazen’s favor.
After the match Hazen Head Coach Linette Irwin talked about the game, praising her team’s defensive desire and offensive execution during the game.
“Skill wise I think that passing was phenomenal. I mean we had so many swings on the ball. Serve-Receive, we did a great job – especially those last two sets wen it really counted. Keator’s giving it all she has and we are putting the ball up, on our side none the less,” Irwin said.
“So passing was great, serve-receive was awesome. I thought that when our block was solid we got to put our offense together. When we were just getting touches or funny things were happening because our block wasn’t so tight, then we struggled a little bit.”