The Pine River-Backus Tiger girls volleyball team dropped the first game of the state tournament, falling to the Bethlehem Academy Cardinal 3-1 in the quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Thursday, Nov. 9.
"We didn't play very well at the beginning," coach Josh Hirschey said. "I thought in game three and game four - even the end of game two - we got our feet under us and played a bit better. For our strengths, serve/receive is usually at the top of that list, but it wasn't there early. They have good servers ... It just wasn't meant to be, I guess, but the grit and toughness these kids have is always there and I think they displayed that tonight."
The Cardinal took the first two games by scores of 25-17 and 25-11, but the Tigers bounced back in the third.
PR-B led by as much as eight points, but Bethlehem Academy came back to tie the game at 21-21. After three more ties and two lead changes, the Tigers came away victorious 27-25.
"The first game wasn't our best," junior Bailey Wynn said. "We knew wanted it, and that is what got us through game three. We just kept pushing no matter what."
The Tigers kept it close in the fourth game, pulling within one point midway through, but the Cardinal maintained a lead throughout for the 25-20 victory.
Wynn tallied 13 kills and 17 digs for the Tigers, while Alyssa Semmler had 16 kills and 10 digs. Gabby Rainwater tallied eight kills and 16 digs while Rylie Hirschey had 40 set assists.
"(Playing at the Xcel Center) was truly amazing," Wynn said. "We knew we had a chance to get here, but we also knew it was going to take a lot of hard work. To come in here and see the court and see the lights was really amazing."
The Tigers move to the consolation bracket, where they will face the New Life Academy of Woodbury at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10.
"It's the fundamentals for us (that we need to focus on) - serving, serve receive," Hirschey said. "That is where it starts for us. We'll talk about what we can do better and we have understand, first of all, how lucky we are to be here. We'll be ready to play tomorrow. I have no doubt about that. These kids want play, and they want to play Saturday."