By Brad Mosher
Heart River eked out a too-close-for-comfort 3-0 road win over New England Thursday. The Cougars needed 30 points to pull out a narrow 30-28 win in the opener. Heart River had an easier time in the second, winning by a 25-14 score. In the final contest, the visitors had to rally to win a 25-17 decision.
In the first contest, neither team could build a strong lead, with the Tigers even holding a 21-20 edge late, but the Cougars rallied again to take a 23- 22 edge.
Then, the Tigers kept coming back to tie it at 24-all and 25-all. The Tigers took the lead again at 26-25, only to have the visiting Cougars tie it again at 26-all, 27-all and 28-all.
Heart River came back with the final two points to claim the 30-28 victory in the opener.
The visitors had an easier time in the secon contest, jumping out to a quick lead to claim a 25-14 win. The Tigers rallied late, outscoring the Cougars by a 4-1 margin, but could not keep the Heart River squad from
claiming the victory.
In the final match, it was a battle for both squads, with the Tigers first into double digits.
New England held a 12-10 lead and later a 13-11 edge, but could not break away from the Cougars.
The visitors came back to tie the contest at 14-all, then edged ahead to a 20-16 margin.
Heart River outscored New England by a 5-1 margin to claim the win and the overall 3-0 victory.
For coach Kay Moody, the loss showed where her squad needs to work on improving.
“I was proud of our team in the first set, and I though we had opportunities a number of times in the last one (set),” she said after the loss. “We fought back in set three. I was proud of our girls there.
“We just had too many errors. We need to minimize our errors and take advantage of the opportunities we’re given.”
Moody praised the play of Hadley Binstock, who finished with eight digs, five kills, one ace and a block.
Statistically, the visiting Cougars had a 6-1 edge in aces and a 25-14 edge in kills. The biggest edge was in digs, where the visitors had a 47-22 differential.
For New England, Hadley Binstock and Jersey Binstock both had five kills, while Angel Erickson added four.
New England finished with a total of three blocks – Jersey Binstock had two blocks, while Hadley Binstock had one.
After Hadley Binstock’s eight digs, Angel Erickson and Jersey Binstock each added seven.
Shelley Kathrein led the Tigers in assists with 14.
The Cougars came to New England after winning the Killdeer Mountain volleyball
tournament Aug. 30 in Killdeer and defeating Hettinger-Scranton in the title match.
The Tigers enter the contest after beating Harding County on the road by a 3-1 margin two days earlier. The team dropped two contests to Dickinson Trinity and Bishop Ryan at the Coal Country invitational at Hazen Aug. 30.
The Tigers will travel to Watford City Saturday (Sept. 7) for a tournament, then go to Glen Ullin/Hebron Sept. 9). The team will stay on the road, going to Killdeer Thursday (Sept. 12) , before hosting Richardton-Taylor a week later (Sept. 19).