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Bearcats are Conference champs with wins against BGMR and WAO

The KCC Bearcat Volleyball Team celebrates their 5-set win over the BGMR Gators in Gator territory. (Photos courtesy of KC Media Arts)

By Coach Tina Turn
The top two teams in the western half of Section 8A volleyball are the KCC Bearcats and the BGMR Gators. The Gators beat the Bearcats at the Ada tournament 2-1 in early September. KCC was looking to not only avenge that loss but to help their position as the possible No. 1 seed going into playoffs and move one step closer to becoming Northern Lights Conference champs.
The Gator gym was loud Tuesday, Oct. 10, and KCC came out of the gates firing on all cylinders.

BRYNN HENNEN, HADLEY NORDIN and AFTON LINDGREN wait for the ball to be served from the WAO Ponies. Bearcats defeated the Ponies in 3 sets during their Pink Night match. (Photo courtesy of KC Media Arts)

Despite 3 untimely missed serves and 6 hitting errors, the Bearcats seemed to easily reach the 25-20 first-set victory. BGMR didn’t have an answer for Kaydence White in the first set as she recorded 6 kills in 8 attempts, and the team recorded 3 out of their 5 aces on the night in the opening set.
In set two, White upped her offense even more with 7 kills, followed by Berlyn Strege with 4, and from the right side, Afton Lindgren pounded home 2. In this set, the two teams had longer rallies in the first set, and four players recorded 5 digs or more in the 25-22 win.
Set three opened strong for the Bearcats as Morgan Turn started the set with an ace and added 3 more tough serves to keep the Gators out of system. White added 1 more kill for a solid 8 kills in set three, but near the end of the set, the Bearcat effort wasn’t quite enough as the Bearcats let the clean sweep slide through their fingers. KCC came up just short 23-25.
BGMR clearly had the momentum going into set four, and you could read it on the Bearcats’ faces. Afton Lindgren had a nice serving run for points 9 through 12 to force a Gator timeout. KCC re-grouped midway through the set, but it was too late to catch up, and BGMR went on to win 25-19.
The deciding set was an exciting one as the Bearcats jumped to an early 8-4 lead before the Gators decided to take a timeout to try to slow Bearcat momentum. It helped BGMR and they slowly cut KCC’s lead, but with the Bearcats up 14-13, the Gators took their final timeout. It was a determined Bearcat team that finished on top behind a Hanna Warnke tip kill 15-13.
Players and fans had been waiting for this game for a few weeks, and both teams sure gave the fans an exciting show. We had too many matches this year that were tight at the end that we couldn’t pull off and win. It was good to see the determination of the girls in such a pressure-filled match. They refused to let that happen again. Grace Faken made some key digs in the final set, and Berlyn Strege had 4 of her 11 kills at playmaking moments. The communication in this match was stellar, and while the crowd helped to fuel that energy, it’s something that I hope the girls can replicate themselves, knowing how valuable it is in any match.
The team served 91 percent for the match, and their record now stands at 18-8 with two regular season matches remaining: W-A-O and LOW. Three players had double-doubles: Morgan Turn, Afton Lindgren and Berlyn Strege. It was a very important match to win near the end of the season.
KCC vs. W-A-O
The Bearcats last played the Ponies on Tuesday, Sept. 12, so it was a month between competition as the Ponies traveled to Hallock on Friday, Oct. 13 for the two teams’ second match-up of the season. It was “Dig Pink” night at the game, and there was a good crowd on hand to witness the final regular-season home match for the Bearcats.
KCC came out swinging in set one and earned 22 of their 25 points, a season record. Bearcat middle hitters paced the attack with 9 kills between the two of them. The team combined for 7 aces in the 25-7 win.
Set two was very similar, all the way down to the score, which also ended 25-7. Kaydence White had 9 of her 19 kills in this set, and she was followed by the other middle hitter, Lauryn Whitlock, who swung for 3 kills.
The Bearcats scored 6 times on aces in set three, and the only 2 blocks of the night came in this set from White and Whitlock. Three players had 4 or more kills in the final set: Morgan Turn, Berlyn Strege and White. KCC ended the night on a 25-15 win.
Pink Night was a success just as the match was a success. This Northern Lights Conference win solidifies the Bearcats as Conference champs with a Conference record of 8-1. The team’s overall record, with one match remaining, is 19-8.

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