Native Sun News Today: Lakota Nation Invitational hosts girls volleyball tournament

White River’s Sarah Bechtold challenges Custer’s Ashlee Kritenbrink (11) and Morgan Parys (21). Photo by James Giago Davies

Custer captures LNI volleyball title
St Thomas More sweeps Thorpes
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Correspondent

RAPID CITY—A determined Custer Lady Wildcats team won nine consecutive matches, dropping only one game to White River, to win the 2016 LNI Girls Volleyball title October 1 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Lady Wildcats took home the following awards: Jordan Menken, tournament MVP; Leah Zacher, tournament Defensive Specialist; Marlee Schneider, Outstanding Setter, and Parys Morgan, All Tournament Team. Custer is now an impressive 24-0, 9-0 in regional play, with Belle Fourche a distant second at 13-3.

In the final game of the championship match against White River, the score was knotted 10-all before Custer net play took over the game. The Lady Tigers lost their composure, on both sets and kills, but Custer remained focused to steamroll to win 25-12, after taking the first game 25-11. Menken, a 5-8 senior, had 5 kills in the game. She had 11 kills in the Hill City semi-final, 12 kills in the three setter played against White River. Parys, a 6-1 senior, had 6 kills against White River, and 6 against Hill City.

Pine Ridge defeated Hill City 25-23, 25-16 for third place.

Rosebud Sioux Tribe on YouTube: White River vs Custer High School (Championship Round)

Earlier in the week the Lady Thorpes came to Rapid City to take on an always tough St Thomas More team. The Lady Cavs prevailed in three sets 25-18, 25-11, 25-21. In the first and last sets, Pine Ridge fell behind quickly, hammered at the net by resounding kill shots from 5-10 senior Dru Gylten (9 kills) and 6-2 sophomore Phebie Rossi (11 kills). But each time the Thorpes fought back with a steady team effort, lead by 5-8 senior Cheristine Mousseaux. More’s big girls were allowed their kill opportunities by excellent sets and 8 impressive digs from 5-7 senior Alana Brown.

Lady Cavs Head Coach Angela Estes said of her charges, “They work as a team, they are learning, and they are very powerful. Tonight I asked them to focus on the little things, and that is what we worked on.”

In the final game, with More leading 10-7, Gylten caught fire with her serve, reeling off five straight service winners that should have pounded the coffin nails home on Pine Ridge. The Lady Thorpes fought back, racking up six straight points of their own before More recovered the momentum, and brought the score back to 24-21, and then Mousseau’s kill shot ricocheted off net, sailed out of bounds, and ended the contest.

“I got a real young team,” Pine Ridge Head Coach Nellie Long said after the game. “I got me just one senior. I had a setter for four years, but she graduated and I’m teaching this setter.”

Pine Ridge does have strengths: “We got some of the highest serving percentages in the state.”

It didn’t hurt to face the likes of 15-5 More going into the LNI the very next day, and the third place LNI finish the Lady Thorpes earned two nights later is nothing to sneeze at.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Custer captures LNI volleyball title

(Contact James Giago Davies at

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