Rams, Tigers both miss regional playoff berths

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— Both the Hayden and Soroco volleyball teams came up short in the district tournament Saturday, not getting a regional berth and ending their seasons.

The Soroco Rams had a 10-point comeback in the second round against the second-seeded Grand Valley Cardinals, but it wasn't enough to get a second win in the three-game match.

The third-seeded Rams lost to the squad, 15-17, 17-15, 15-13, which ultimately knocked them out of contention for a regional tournament berth.

The comeback happened in the second game after the Rams beat the Cardinals in overtime, 15-17.

The Rams kept all the games close with a 92 percent serving accuracy and 45 kills in the three games.

"That was the best we played all year," Rams coach Betsy Photos said. "We just got slow starts."

Slow starts was right. The Rams went down 6-12 in the first game and 2-12 in the second.

However, good net play and aggressive digging got the Rams back in both games, shaking the methodical Cardinals' scoring style.

Senior Katherine Ford led Soroco in kills with 18. She also chalked up a team-high 11 saves.

Senior Sarah Broadbent had a personal-best 65 assists, along with eight saves and three kills. Junior Meg Hayne played well, with nine kills and nine saves.

Junior Sara Jo Linden had seven kills, six blocks and eight saves.

Grand Valley coach Lorile Loesch said the Soroco game was key in the tournament. First seed West Grand was undefeated in the league and many teams were shooting for second place to earn the second regional berth. Grand Valley and Soroco split games in the regular season, heightening the intensity of the matchup.

"All week long we prepared knowing it would be the game of the day," she said. "I knew the loser would have been mentally and physically drained."

That proved to be true, with Soroco then going down to first seed West Grand in two games, 15-6, 15-6.

That left the Rams in the position where they had to hope North Park would beat Grand Valley in the sixth game of the tournament.

North Park was the spoiler in the tournament. The fifth seed knocked off fourth-seeded Hayden in the pigtail match, 15-5, 15-5.

Hayden coach Kipp Rillos had high hopes for the tournament and was stunned by the loss.

"They were real nervous," he said. "I felt going into it that we were pretty well prepared."

The loss knocked Hayden out of the tournament, which was a bittersweet ending. Hayden had a 5-5 league record and 11-8 overall, the best season for the team since 1983.

After the game, North Park played first-seeded West Grand tough but couldn't come up with the win.

They also stretched Grand Valley to three games in that match, 15-12, 12-15 and 10-15 but lost in the end.

That ended all hope for the Rams, who had to settle playing against North Park for third place.

The Rams won 15-12, 15-6 with 27 team kills, ending the teams season with a solid 12-8 record and 5-5 in league.

West Grand got first in the tournament and Grand Valley placed second, giving both teams a regional tournament berth.

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