Call 'em Vermillion's "rally masters."
The VHS volleyball team, down to Harrisburg two sets to none Monday night, rallied to sweep away the Tigers, 3-2. It was the Tanagers' second victory after overcoming a 2-0 deficit in less than a week's time.
Not only was it Vermillion's 15th dual victory of the season, but it also clinched the Big 8 Conference championship for the Tanagers and earned them home-court advantage in next week's district tournament.
The District 8A tourney will feature Elk Point-Jefferson against Dakota Valley in one semifinal and the Tanagers against Beresford in the other. The championship match will be played Thursday with that winner earning a spot in the regional title match Nov. 8.
Harrisburg won by 25-20 and 25-18 in Monday's first two sets but couldn't stop the Tanagers' momentum once they had found it. Vermillion won 25-18 in the third set and 25-22 in the fourth to set up a winner-take-all fifth set. There the Tanagers prevailed 15-9.
Val Moos with 31 digs and Beth Szymonski with 22 digs led VHS in that category. Lizzy Bye also had 22 digs along with nine kills. Kylie Fischbach had seven kills, nine set assists and 10 digs. Sami Girard contributed 19 digs and 19 set assists.
The Tanagers' long and successful October homestand continued last Tuesday when they overcame another 2-0 deficit to stun Beresford, 3-2, in an exciting marathon duel.
The Watchdogs had won by 25-17 in the opening set and made it a 2-0 lead with a narrow 26-24 win in the second set before Vermillion began to roll. The Tanagers took Set No. 3 by 25-17, tied the match with a 25-23 win, then won the decisive set 15-12 to improve their record to 14-6.
The digs column on Coach Lenni Billberg's statistics sheet shows how hard the Tanagers were playing as they recorded 107 digs, including 21 by Beth Szymonski, 20 each by Lizzy Bye and Val Moos, 13 by Kylie Fischbach, 12 by Sami Girard, eight by Kelly Amundson, seven by Emily McClelland and five by Lexi Regnerus.
Szymonski also had 12 kills to lead the offense. Bye had two ace serves, two block assists and eight kills; Fischbach seven kills, 13 set assists, two ace serves and two block assists; Girard 11 set assists and Regnerus a solo block and three block assists.
The winning streak ended Friday when Dakota Valley dealt the Tanagers a 3-0 setback on set scores of 25-21, 25-13 and 28-26. Vermillion still had 102 digs in the competitive match, including 19 from Szymonski. Girard had 15, McClelland 15, Moos 15, Regnerus 11 and Bye 10 digs.
Szymonski had six kills, Girard four assists, Amundson four kills and four block assists and Fischbach eight set assists.