Tanager volleyball ends season at District 8A tourney on hopeful note by Jim Prosser You could expect intense competition when three of the top rated teams in the state are involved in a double-elimination tournament to determine the regional candidate. The District 8A tourney was held on Monday, Feb. 26, at Elk Point High School to bring together Alcester-Hudson, Elk Point-Jefferson, Dakota Valley and Vermillion.
The Tanagers lost the first match to the EP-J Huskies 11-15, 5-15, while the A-H Cubs were beating the DV Panthers in the first round of matches.
In match #1, leaders for VHS were: Tessa Tuetken � 20 assists and four digs; Ashley Bjorkman � one block, six kills, and eight digs; Allison Stewart � one block, three kills, and 10 digs. Also, Dru Vankley had six kills, while Brittany Sand was credited with six digs.
Coach Lenni Billberg said, �The district tournament didn�t go as planned for the Tanagers this year. We had a fast start, but EP-J came out ?fired up� in game one and the momentum swayed to the Huskies and they wouldn�t give up. Highlights for Vermillion included a .750 passing efficiency from Dru, and 20 assists from Tessa in her setting debut, replacing Meggie Donnelly who was prevented from playing due to illness.�
Match #2 was a two-game affair against Dakota Valley as the Tanagers sent the Panthers home with 15-11, 15-9 wins. Four defensive blocks were recorded, three by Vankley and one by Whitney Tolsma who also recorded two kills and three digs.
Tuetken registered 16 assists and four digs; Karen Sorensen and Bjorkman led the team in both defenses and attacking with nine digs for Sorensen and six kills for Bjorkman; Stewart scored three aces, three kills, and seven digs.
Match #3 paired Vermillion with the loser from the second round, A-H Cubs and their relentless push, never give up defense, resulted in a 15-5 loss for the Tanagers in game one. Not to be out done, the prideful ?women in red� stormed back to win game two with tough serving and a little defense of their own and a 15-5 victory.
However, final victory was not in the cards, as the state bound Cubs steamrolled back to take the last game 15-2.
Tuetken with 21 assists also had an ace, two kills, and four digs as the leader of the offense. Sorensen had three aces and also had 12 digs and four kills; Bjorkman had five kills and 17 digs; Stewart had 13 digs and four kills while Tolsma led with six kills and eight digs.
�The loss meant the end of a very successful Tanager season and demonstrated for the state that we have an up-and-coming volleyball team that will be fun to watch in the future,� Coach Billberg said. �Sadly, the final point also spelled the end of two stellar Tanager careers � Meggie Donnelly who will be missed for her never give up attitude and sixth sense at the net; and Karen Sorensen who leaves Vermillion as the last Tanager to have played in the volleyball state tourney. Her big swing and quiet presence will surely be missed.
�Finally, it concludes a season wherein the girls started and ended with the same theme � ?Bring it on!� � Billberg said.