Tigers Region 2B co-champions
November 11, 2020
The Ipswich netters, seeded second only to Faulkton in this year's Region 2B rankings, celebrated another 2B bracket championship last Thursday, thanks to a straight-set 3-0 win over Highmore-Harrold, seeded third overall. Two nights earlier the Tiger girls had carved out a similar straight-sets victory over seventh-seeded Sully Buttes.
Ipswich coach Trent Osborne was impressed with Ipswich's consistency. "I thought everyone played very steady both nights," he explained. "We were able to win the serve/pass battle in both matches, which kept the other teams on their heels in a lot of the rallies."
Seeded #10 in the state, the Tigers were hoping that this momentum would carry over into Tuesday's SoDak 16 showdown versus #7 Hitchcock-Tulare in Tulare. (The Patriots are coached by Roscoe native Jordan Opp, also a familiar face as a basketball referee.) The Ipswich netters were defeated by the Patriots during a regular-season match on October 15 and were looking to avenge that loss in the SoDak 16 showdowns and earn a trip to the State B in Huron on November 19-21.
Osborne predicted that Tuesday's SoDak 16 clash with Hitchcock-Tulare would be quite an interesting match-up. "In the postseason only the here and now matters," he said. (The results weren't available in time for our newspaper deadline.)
The other Tuesday, Nov. 10 SoDak 16 matches included Region 2B winner Faulkton hosting Kimball/White Lake, Timber Lake at top-seeded Northwestern, and Faith at second-seeded Warner. One thing these clashes all have in common is that Faulkton, Northwestern and Warner, along with Ipswich are all members of the powerful Lake Region Conference. (Faulkton had topped Potter County 3-0 to cap its own 2B championship bracket win.) The remaining SoDak 16 clashes were Freeman at Chester Area, Kadoka Area at Colman-Egan, Philip at Bridgewater-Emery and Corsica-Stickney at Castlewood.
Now for highlights of Ipswich's impressive 2B achievements! The Tiger girls got off to a solid start in their championship victory over the Pirates with a 25-16 opening win. Next off was a much closer 25-22 victory in the second set, capped by a Lindsey Grabowska kill. And the Tiger girls staved off H-H 25-20 in the third set with the match point being a Hailey Bierman kill.
Ipswich's net attack was spearheaded by a 82 of 100 hitting effort, that featured 34 kills. The girls were led by Grabowska, 23 hits in 28 tries with 11 kills. Paige Mehlberg was next at 12-13, 6 and Hailey Bierman went 12-18, 6. There were 93 IHS sets in 97 tries with 34 assists, led by Bailey Pitz 42-42 with 16 assists and Halle Heinz 37-41 with 11 assists. The IHS servers also had a busy night, going 69-72 with five aces. Pitz was 12-12 with two aces and Heinz 11-11 with one ace.
The team had three solo blocks and six assists, paced by Mehlberg with two solos and five assists. And Hailey Bierman was next with three assists. There were 69 team digs led by Chesney Olivier with 22 and Tarynn Kleffman with 14.
Getting back to opening night, Ipswich stopped Sully Buttes even more impressively, 25-12, 25-15, 25-12. The match point in the third set that sealed the match would be a kill from Grabowska. That was just one of eight kills delivered by Grabowska, who attempted 18 total hits and successfully completed 15. Mehlberg went 11-11 at the net with six kills and Hailey Bierman was 8-12,5.
The serving line yielded 10 aces, included in Ipswich's 71 total serves, led by Heinz, 13-14 with four aces and Kleffman, who was next at 15-15,3. In setting chores, Ipswich finished 71-73 with 27 assists. Heinz was 27-28 with 12 assists and Pitz, 33-33,14.
Ipswich utilized five assisted blocks, led by Mehlberg with four and Hailey Bierman with two. The team also came away with 59 digs, again paced by Chesney Oliver with 25 and Heinz with nine.
The twin regional wins improved Ipswich's season record to 21-5 at that point in time.