By Brad Mosher
New England stunned visiting undefeated Bowman County by winning the first set (25-23) Tuesday in front of a home crowd.
Later, down 2-1, the Tigers rallied to tie it at 2-2 and force a fifth set before falling to the visiting Bulldogs by a 3-2 score.
The Bulldogs left town still undefeated with 5-0 regional and 9-0 season records, while New England fell to 3-2 and 5-4.
After the Tigers had taken a 1-0 lead with the 25-23 victory in the first set, Bowman County came back with a 25-13 win to even the match at 1-1. The Bulldogs added a 25-19 victory to take a 2-1 lead.
But the Tigers rallied with a 25-23 win to force a fifth set.
The hosts briefly took the lead, but the Bulldogs went on a tear to claim the 15-4 decision to pick up the 3-2 win and stay unbeaten.
“Overall, I think it was our best effort. Bowman County is a very good team. They are the top team in the region. Bowman was aggressive and won the fifth set,” New England coach Kay Moody said.
She praised the play of Shelley Kathrein. “Shelley plays great defense and sets the ball to our hitters very well.”
The loss ended New England’s four-game win streak and dropped the Tigers into a tie for fifth in the standings with Beulah.
The team played second-place Hettinger-Scranton Thursday (Oct. 3) and will host Dickinson Trinity Oct.8 before visiting Beach Oct. 10.