Bertrand will be a host school for the first round of the RPAC tourney to begin next Monday, Oct. 21. The Vikings earned the second seed in the RPAC East Division with a 18-4 record. The top two teams in each division earn the right to host first round play. Southern Valley earned top seed honors with their 18-4 record and head-to-head win over the Vikings in regular season play. Maywood-Hayes Center (23-0) earned top honors in the West Division with Wauneta-Palisade (13-5) taking second seed.
The Vikings will play the opening game at 4:00 against Arapahoe, with Alma and Southwest playing in the second game at 5:30. The winners will play at 7:00. Teams winning the quarter final rounds will advance to the semi-finals in McCook at the MCC Events Center on Tuesday. The East Divisions will play the first game of the day at 3:00, followed by the West Division teams at 4:30. The consolation final will be played at 6:00 with the championship games scheduled for 7:30.
After a mediocre showing at the Franklin triangular last Tuesday, the Vikings weren’t sure what to expect at their own invitational on Saturday. Although Bertrand emerged from the night with two wins, they were unsure of what might happen when they played some of the top ranked teams in class D.
Both coaches were impressed as the Vikings started out of the gate with excellent play in their opening game against Giltner. The Vikings and the Hornets battled it out, never wavering more than 1 point differential until the score was tied at 13-13. Jada High went to the service line, helping the Vikings score the next three straight points, two of which were ace serves. This spark helped the Vikings go on a run and finish the set 25-19.
The Vikings had a slow start in the second set, allowing the Hornets to go ahead 9-3. The Vikings battled, slowly gaining on the Hornets until the game was once again tied at 13. Bertrand and Giltner continued to battle until the Vikings finally started to pull away at 18-18. The Vikings finished the set and game 25-22.
In the second game against conference foe Hitchcock County, the Vikings played neck and neck with the Falcons, but lost their momentum mid-way through the first set. Unforced errors by the Vikings allowed Hitchcock County to pull away after a tie at 16, allowing Bertrand to score only three more points before the set ended 19-25.
The Vikings refocused for sets two and three where excellent serving and crisp play allowed the Vikings to dominate winning the last two sets 25-13 and 25-11.
In the final game of the day, the Vikings were determined to give D-1 second ranked Pleasanton a run for the championship. First set play was incredible, with the Bulldogs and Vikings tying the score throughout the set, never allowing the other to pull ahead more than two points. Again at 13-13, the Vikings made a run, but allowed Pleasanton to tie the score back up at 16-16. It was then Pleasanton’s turn to try to make a run going up 20-18. However, the Vikings came storming back to tie the game once again at 20. From that point, a war ensued. Pleasanton and Bertrand each had 4 game point opportunities to win the set until the Vikings were able to put down the final point ending the set at 32-30.
In the second set, the bigger, more experienced Bulldog team was able to keep the Vikings off balance and did not allow Bertrand to score more than 11 points. The Vikings battled with Pleasanton again in the third set, but were unable to out score Pleasanton with the game ending 20-25 in favor of the Bulldogs.
The players and coaches were very pleased with the Viking performance. “This is the best we have played all season. We have seen glimpses of extraordinary play, but we just haven’t been able to put it all together. Today we did a lot of that,” said Coach Mason. Senior libero Jada High commented, “I am excited. I think we played really well today.”
For the tournament Jada HIgh picked up 65 digs and tallied 7 aces. Jordan Hilmer contributed 31 digs and 5 aces. Johanna Ford had 4 aces, 17 kills (.191), and was in on 8 blocks. Aleya Hueftle had 18 kills (.267) and 3 blocks, while Jennica Dannehl contributed 5 blocks. Anna Pelton added 1. Macie Steinbrink put down 17 kills, and Sadie Maloley contributed 7. Erin Boggs had 65 assists on the day and delivered 11 kills and 2 aces..
The Vikings will play tonight at Axtell. JVs will begin at 5:00, followed by the varsity at 6:00.
Over the years, the Bertrand Invitational Volleyball Tournament has been host to some of the top class D volleyball match-ups in the state. This year will be no different as the 2019 tournament will showcase 3 top 10 teams in class D. Pleasanton (13-1), currently ranked 2 in class D-1, Bertrand (10-3), ranked 8 in class-D-2, and Giltner (10-2) ranked as high as 7 in class D-2, along with Hitchcock County (10-5), will battle it out on Saturday, September 28 at the Bertrand High School gymnasium.
The Vikings are looking forward to the challenge. “It will be a great opportunity for our girls to compete with the best teams in our class,” commented co-head coach Kevin Lavene. “It will allow us to see exactly how we measure-up.” Both Pleasanton and Giltner are loaded with experience and talent. Pleasanton lost only 2 seniors from a very talented 2018 team, while Giltner is top heavy with senior leadership.
The Vikings will look for consistency and leadership from junior setter Erin Boggs. “Erin is extremely athletic and competitive,” said coach Lisa Mason. “She doesn’t always get statistical credit for all that she is able to do on the court. She is a great setter; she makes a lot of things happen for us.” Boggs is averaging 23 sets per match this season. In addition to Boggs, the Vikings count on their senior libero Jada High for much of the defense and serving success as she leads the team in digs, serve receive, and ace serves. The only other senior on the squad, Jennica Dannehl also provides all around consistency in every aspect of the game.
Junior Aleya Hueftle and Sophomore Johanna Ford have become dominant players at the net for the Vikings, and according to coaches Mason and Lavene continue to get stronger and more dominant through the season. Together, they lead the hitting and blocking categories on the team. Rounding out the Viking line-up include junior Macie Steinbrink and sophomore Jordan Hilmer on the outside. Junior Anna Pelton and freshman Sadie Maloley bring depth to the Vikings off the bench.
The Vikings will take on Giltner at 10:00 am in the East Gym while Pleasanton will match up with Hitchcock County in the West Gym. At 11:00, Bertrand will take on conference rival Hitchcock County in the East Gym, followed up by Pleasanton and Giltner at 12:00. Bertrand and Pleasanton will play at 1:00 in the East Gym while Glitner and Hitchcock County finish up the day in the West Gym.