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Volleyball: Tigers fall to BBE in section finals

PR-B's Alyssa Semmler hits the ball as the Tigers placed second in Section 5A on Saturday, Nov. 3. Ashley Smith / Echo Journal Correspondent 1 / 2
The Tiger seniors - Anna Downie, Gabby Rainwater, Bailey Wynn, Alyssa Semmler and Ellie Smith - celebrate becoming sub-section champions over the Rush City Tigers. Ashley Smith / Echo Journal Correspondent 2 / 2

This year's Section 5-1A championship match was a complete flip of last year's title contest.

The second-seed and 10th-ranked Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars clawed their way past top-seeded and fifth-ranked Pine River-Backus Tigers 3-1 Saturday, Nov. 3 for a trip to the Class 1A state tournament.

Last year, it was the Tigers, playing without any seniors, who shocked a senior-laden BBE squad with a 3-1 win. This year, it was the Jaguars turn, playing with just three seniors, to upset the higher-ranked Tigers with five seniors by the same score.

"We congratulate BBE on playing a great match and deserving to represent our section," coach Josh Hirschey said. "We just didn't play our best when it was required but BBE had a lot to do with that. The game always comes down to serve and receive and it was no different in the section final - they were better in both departments. I didn't have my younger kids emotionally prepared enough for that night and so I certainly feel responsible for what happened. Several of the kids tried to will us through one more time but it just wasn't meant to be."

The Tigers were able to hold their own at the net. PR-B finished with 49 kills and seven blocks while BBE had 52 kills and eight blocks.

Leading the Tigers were seniors Gabby Rainwater with 17 kills and two blocks, Alyssa Semmler with 14 kills and four blocks and Bailey Wynn with 11 kills, six ace serves and 11 digs.

Wynn successfully completed 26 serves and picked up her 1,000th career kill in the fourth set.

Emma Barchus collected a team-high 23 digs and Rylie Hirschey put up 44 set assists.

"It was a great season filled with a lot of milestones for our program," Hirschey said. "As time passes we will further recognize what a great time it was to be a part of PR-B volleyball, but right now it really is hard to let go of the feeling we are experiencing from Saturday night. To know that we were one good match away from being a two or three seed in state based on the accomplishments of what we'd done throughout the season really makes it all the more frustrating."

After losing no athletes to graduation last year, the Tigers now part ways with six seniors.

"These seniors leave having won several tournaments, a conference championship, two subsection championships, a section championship, etc.," Hirschey said, "but they will mostly be missed for the great kids and people they are."

The Tigers finish the season with an overall record of 28-3.

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 25 25 18 25

Pine River-Backus 22 20 25 18

Pine River-Backus statistics

Gabby Rainwater 17 kills, 2 blocks, 8 digs

Bailey Wynn 11 kills, 6 ace serves, 12 digs

Ellie Smith 1 ace serve

Anna Felthous 2 set assists, 1 kill, 1 dig

Jaime Johnson 5 kills, 7 digs

Olivia Adkins 1 kill

Alyssa Semmler 14 kills, 4 blocks, 8 digs

Rylie Hirschey 44 set assists, 6 digs, 1 ace serve, 1 block

Emma Barchus 23 digs, 1 ace serve

Tigers 3, Rush City 1

Semmler and Rainwater combined for 29 kills as the North B No. 1 Pine River-Backus Tigers defeated North A No. 1 Rush City 3-1 in the North Subsection 5-1A championship match Thursday, Nov. 1.

Semmler drilled 15 kills and Rainwater 14 as PR-B improved to 28-2. Hirschey posted 49 set assists and Jaime Johnson 24 digs for PR-B.

In Game One Thursday, PR-B won 25-13 as Rainwater provided five kills, Semmler three kills and three aces. Rush City rebounded to take Game Two 25-13.

Semmler's five kills sparked the Tigers to a 25-19 win in Game Three. After the teams were tied 11-11, PR-B went on a 7-1 run. Rush City closed to within 20-18 but could never tie or take the lead.

In Game Four, PR-B went on a 6-0 run after trailing 1-0 and never trailed. Rush City tied it five times but PR-B's 4-1 run won it 25-22.

Rush City 13 25 19 22

PR-Backus 25 13 25 25

Pine River-Backus statistics

Gabby Rainwater 14 kills, 2 blocks, 9 digs

Bailey Wynn 9 kills, 10 digs, 1 ace serve, 1 set assist, 1 block

Anna Felthous 4 digs, 1 kill, 2 set assists, 1 block

Jaime Johnson 24 digs, 4 kills

Olivia Adkins 4 kills, 1 dig

Claire Dahl 1 dig

Alyssa Semmler 15 kills, 3 blocks, 6 digs, 1 ace serve

Rylie Hirschey 49 set assists, 5 digs, 1 ace serve

Emma Barchus 21 digs, 4 ace serves

PR-B 3, Braham 0

Wynn hammered 21 kills in a 3-0 win for the North B top-seeded Pine River-Backus Tigers over North A No. 3 Braham in the North Subsection 5-1A semifinals Tuesday, Oct. 30.

The Tigers rolled to 25-8, 25-10 wins in the first two sets behind 15 of Wynn's kills. After falling behind 4-0 in the third, PR-B seized the lead for good at 8-7 and closed out the set 25-14 behind six more Wynn kills and four Emma Barchus ace serves.

Barchus finished with eight aces and a team-high 12 digs. Hirschey put up 31 set assists and Semmler contributed another 10 kills for the Tigers.

Braham 8 10 14

Pine River-Backus 25 25 25

Pine River-Backus statistics

Hannah Barchus

Emily Hanneken

Gabby Rainwater 6 kills, 5 digs, 1 set assist

Bailey Wynn 21 kills, 1 block, 6 digs, 1 ace serve

Anna Downie

Ellie Smith 1 dig

Anna Felthous 1 kill, 2 set assists

Jaime Johnson 5 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs, 2 set assists

Olivia Adkins 1 kill, 1 ace serve, 5 digs

Katie Hanneken

Claire Dahl 3 digs

Alyssa Semmler 10 kills, 2 blocks, 1 dig

Rylie Hirschey 31 set assists, 6 digs, 1 block, 1 ace serve

Emma Barchus 8 ace serves, 12 digs