Nail-biter to the end: New England defeats Dickinson Trinity for Region 7 3rd place finish

The Region 7 tournament’s third place game between New England and Dickinson Trinity came about as close to the wire as you can get with out tripping on it.

LEFT PHOTO: The Tigers pose for their team photo. RIGHT PHOTO: (L to R) Coach Taylor Brown, Victoria Jalbert, Elizabeth Kaufman, Kalli Manning, Jenna Ehlis, Linzee Volk, Hallie Peterson, Paige Ehlis, Haille Kuske, Adrienne Roller, Asst. Coach Haley Wrigleworth. (Bottom) Taylor Hewson, Madison Humleker.
LEFT PHOTO: The Tigers pose for their team photo. RIGHT PHOTO: (L to R) Coach Taylor Brown, Victoria Jalbert, Elizabeth Kaufman, Kalli Manning, Jenna Ehlis, Linzee Volk, Hallie Peterson, Paige Ehlis, Haille Kuske, Adrienne Roller, Asst. Coach Haley Wrigleworth. (Bottom) Taylor Hewson, Madison Humleker.

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The Region 7 tournament’s third place game between New England and Dickinson Trinity came about as close to the wire as you can get with out tripping on it.

After a five game set, two of which went into overtime, the Tigers came out with the win as they repeated as third place winners on Thursday, Nov. 13, winning three games out of five.

In the regular season, the Tigers fell to the Titans three games to none, but they were all close matches (23-25, 19-25, 20-25).

Game one of the tournament went into overtime scoring after Trinity had four unanswered points. New England was up 23-18 at one point, but lost the hold on the lead, and after the the teams were even at 25, overtime kicked in. New England won 27-25 to take the first set.

Game two went well for the Tigers. They came out rolling and at one point had a 7 point lead over the Titans. New England won by their greatest margin on the evening, putting the Titans away in game two by a score of 25-18.

Game three was all Trinity.

At one point, the Titans had a 10 point lead over the Tigers and early on it looked like a three game sweep was not in the cards for New England. Though the Tigers clawed their way back slightly, Trinity still dominated the game and won the third game 25-14.

Game four was a much more evenly matched contest. Both teams cleaned up their game and scoring went back
and forth. New England started off  strong and held a lead early in the game. But Trinity was able to capitalize on some hitting mistakes by the Tigers and took game four, evening up the series at two games a piece.

Just as it started, it ended in the need for overtime scoring.

In game five, the Tigers came out and quickly took a four point lead, ahead 11-7. With 15 points being the threshold in a game five, New England only needed four more scores with four points to spare.

New England needed those spare points.

The Titans score two unanswered points and were down only two. New England added one and the score was 12-10.

Trinity put three more on the board to take a one point lead at 13-12. Trinity added another point and New England got two, the score was even at 14.

Needing a two point margin to win, overtime was a necessity at this point.

The overtime scoring didn’t last long.

After both teams were sitting at 14, New England put two straight on the board to claim third place for the second year in a row.

Coach Taylor Brown said she just had to make sure her squad was refocused after the loss of the third match of the game.

“We just kind of had to get re-motivated, and refocused, and they did,” Brown said. “They did great.”

Brown also said that progressing from game one to game three and four was a little uneven between the two squads.

“As they progressed, we didn’t progress with them,” Brown said. “We kind of lost focus and were a little timid.”

According to Brown, mistakes just added up in the third and fourth game, but they were back in shape by the time the first serve was hit in game five.

“In the fifth game, the girls just cleaned it up and finished,” Brown said.

Part of the issue stemmed from the regular season.

According to Brown, usually when her team went up two games to none during the regular season, the Tigers closed out with a win in game three and a swept.

This didn’t happen, so New England found themselves in unfamiliar territory.

Though they faced adversity and the game went down to the very end, the Tigers again were able to hold up that trophy.

Taylor Hewson and Madison Humleker were the only two seniors on the team and will leave a lasting impression on the team.

“We’re definitely going to miss those two,” Brown said.

According to Brown, both had outstanding play both on and off the court.

“Obviously they were leaders on the court, but they were drastic leaders off the court as well,” Brown said.

Hewson was named to the All-Region team.

Brown was able to lean on those two to give the squad extra guidance as the team progressed throughout the season.

Looking forward to next year, Brown said she’s very happy with what she currently has returning, and the level of talent she has coming up.

“I have a lot of talent coming up, and a lot of work ethic,” Brown said.

When asked if she was encouraged by two undefeated season the past two years by their 7th and 8th-grade teams, Brown acknowledged. But she was also quick to point out that it takes hard work to achieve your goals, something she told her team earlier this year.

“I told them it was going to be a lot of hard work to get where they wanted to go. And they came in everyday and they worked hard, they pushed each other and pushed themselves to be the best,” Brown said. “They definitely achieved that goal, they did great this year, I’m very pleased with the way they worked.

STATS: (Kills) T.Hewson 27, L.Volk 11, H.Peterson 5, J.Ehlis 4, H.Kuske 4, P.Ehlis 1; (Aces) T.Hewson 3, H.Peterson 2, P.Ehlis 2, M.Humleker 1, L.Volk 1; (Digs) M.Humleker 16, L.Volk 15, T.Hewson 11, H.Peterson 11, P.Ehlis 6, J.Ehlis 6; (Assists) P.Ehlis 43.

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