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East River dominates volleyball at state

Wagner Red Raider Avari Bruguier (Photo courtesy of SDPB)


SIOUX FALLS—Back in 1975, when Title IX forced high schools to provide equal sports opportunities for girls, the girls couldn’t play football in the fall, so volleyball was slotted to offset football. Since then, the sport has grown considerably, and produced some outstanding teams, coaches, players, and heated rivalries.

All three classifications, 11AA, 11A, and 11B, gathered in Sioux Falls last week at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, to crown the 2022 season champions.

Class B Championship

There was one West River team in the final eight of Class B, Burke.

In the championship game, number one Warner defeated number three Chester Area in four sets, 25-23, 25-16, 14-25 and 26-24.

In the Third Place game, number five Wolsey-Wessington topped number two Burke in four sets, 19-25, 25-19, 26-24, 26-24, by far the most hotly contested struggle of the entire tournament, and despite not making the final as expected, the ladies from Burke went out on their shields, fighting right down to the last point.

In the Fifth Place game, number four Northwestern prevailed over number seven Castlewood in straight sets, 25-22, 25-13 and 25-11.

In the Seventh Place game, number six Colman-Egan dispatched number eight Freeman in four sets, 17-25, 25-22, 25-20 and 25-16.

Class A Championship

Belle Fourche was the lone West River team in the Class A field, and their volleyball program has been very strong for many years, but they lost all their matches in Sioux Falls.

In the championship contest, number four Sioux Falls Christian beat number three Elkton-Lake Benton in four sets, 25-14, 25-20, 23-25, and 25-13. Both teams advanced to the final because the top two teams got knocked off and Christian took full advantage of the opportunity.

In the Third Place game, number eight Elk-Point-Jefferson took out number two Miller in four sets, 18-25, 25-21, 25-21, and 25-22). Two weeks ago. the undefeated Elk-Point Jefferson football team upset heavily favored perennial powerhouse Winner to win the 11B football title. So, it has been an impressive fall for Elk Point-Jefferson, and no easy task for an eight seeded team to get second place.

Fifth Place belonged to number five Dakota Valley as they topped number seven Platte-Geddes in five tough sets, 23-25, 25-17, 25-17, 17-25, and 15-9.

Having a really tough tournament, number one Wagner managed to find themselves and salvage Seventh Place over number six Belle Fourche in four sets, 25-17, 19-25, 25-17, and 25-20.

Class AA Championship

Two years ago there was no Sioux Falls Jefferson but this brand new school seems to be good at every sport, and hats off to the entire Jefferson activities staff because these people appear to know their stuff. Rapid City Stevens was the only West River representative in this field.

In the championship match, number three Harrisburg defeated number four Sioux Falls Jefferson in four hotly contested sets, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23. This was sweet revenge from a week previously, when the Harrisburg football team lost to Jefferson for the state title.

Third Place winner was number one Sioux Falls Washington, who defeated number two Sioux Falls O’Gorman in four sets, 27-25, 21-25, 25-19, and 25-18. Both of these schools have had to refactor their place in the Sioux Falls high school pecking order as Jefferson, even when seeded lower than they are, finds a way to make it through to the final.

In the Fifth Place game, number five Pierre swept number six Sioux Falls Lincoln in straight sets, 25-19, 25-16, and 25-19.

Seventh Place went to number seven Huron over number eight Rapid City Stevens in straight sets, 25-23, 25-19, and 25-14. The Raider program has remained strong since their state championship a few years back, but this team lacked an imposing go-to presence when things got tight.

(Contact James Giago Davies at

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