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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Blackhawks crush Rams in four to advance

Monday, October 29, 2012

(Sentinel photo by Kent Jones) Hinton junior Kasey Reuter smashes the ball into MVAO's court during the Blackhawk win Friday. The Hinton team now advances to the 2A regional final. Reuter led the Blackhawks in kills Friday with 18.
It may have taken four sets for the Blackhawks to defeat the Maple Valley-Anthon Oto Rams in regional play Friday, but Hinton coach Kate Ortegren said the turning point of the match really came early on -- toward the end of the first game.

No. 9 Hinton gave up some points early to No. 10 MVAO, missing some serves and making some unforced errors on the court.

"We started off a little nervous, now sure what to expect," Ortegren said.

Then, toward the end of that first game, with the Blackhawks trailing the Rams, Ortegren called a time out.

She talked to the girls about improving their passing and shifting their defense to help shut down some strong MVAO hitters.

"Our passing got better, we picked up some momentum, and we carried that into our next game," Ortegren said

The Blackhawks went on a six-point run toward the end of that game, but the Rams won 26-16.

After that, it was Hinton's court.

The Blackhawks bolted out to a 7-1 lead in the second set. The Rams came back, making the score 8-7.

Later that set, with junior Tori Bishop serving, the Blackhawks moved from 12-9 to 22-9. Hinton won that set 25-12.

Play went back and forth in the third set early on. Then with Bishop back behind the service line, the Blackhawks climbed from 11-7 to a 17-7 lead.

Hinton only allowed one more Ram point, taking that set 25-8.

Hinton kept control through the fourth set, wrapping up the match with a 25-12 victory.

Ortegren said she was pleased with how the Blackhawks propelled themselves toward the win after that first-set timeout.

"I told the girls they are very coachable," she said. "It's nice to have a group of girls who are so mature and so coachable that they'd go out and make the changes they needed."

The Rams' Meagan Kerns and another MVAO hitter caused the Blackhawks a little trouble early on, but after the Hinton blockers adjusted their placement, they regained control, Ortegren said.

"My blockers had a ton of blocks. I had them move over to where they (the Rams) were hitting and they started frustrating the hitters," she said. "Lauren Hedlund and Sadie Shuck adjusted their blocks and they both led with blocks. Having them leading our defense and stopping their (MVAO's) offense was key."

The pieces started coming together for the Blackhawks, she said.

"Because the blocks were so solid, the defense in our back row was getting great digs," she said. "It was a match were I felt everybody did their job and they all worked together."

In kills, Kasey Reuter led the Blackhawks for the night with 18. Lauren Hedlund contributed 11, Sadie Shuck 10, Bishop three and Ashley Eaton two.

Bishop also had four aces serving and Ali Kallsen had three.

The crowd at the game kept it lively, Ortegren said.

"There was a lots of energy in the gym," she said. "It was a fun match."

This is the Hinton coach's seventh season with the Blackhawk team.

"We've had some really good seasons, but the regional pool is usually really tough, and we usually end up playing Western or Unity," she said. "This year it was nice to go south and see some new teams."

Now the 28-4 Blackhawks will be facing No. 5 Council Bluffs St. Albert Wednesday.

Ortegren said the focus going into that matchup will be starting more quickly and getting the Blackhawks' serve established.

"Council Bluffs St. Albert is balanced on their offense, so we need to serve and serve aggressively," Ortegren said. "We just need to play our game and play it to the fullest. We've got a lot of potential. We've just got use it."

At 7 p.m. Wednesday in Denison, Hinton will make a bid for state, facing off with the Saintes, who just beat Underwood 3-0.

"I was glad with how we finished Friday. It gave us the confidence to move into the next round," Ortegren said.

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