Hinton falls to Dike-New Hartford in 2A state semifinals

Thursday, November 3, 2022
(Photo By Roy Tucker) The Hinton volleyball team poses with their state semifinalist trophy after dropping their Class 2A state semifinal contest to Dike-New Hartford on Wednesday at Xtream Arena. The Blackhawks finish the year with a 27-3 record.

CORALVILLE — Hinton had their season come to a close in the Class 2A state semifinal round on Wednesday at Xtream Arena in a 3-0 loss to two-time defending champion Dike-New Hartford.

“All season I’ve never felt they have ever been too nervous or intimidated,” Hinton co-head coach Kate Ortegren said. “We just were out of system too many times. We were scrambling a bit and in turn we were pushing it over a little bit. We weren’t always giving them something aggressive. They were passing well and they were setting all over the place.”

Bailey Boeve had an early block and kill as fourth-seeded Hinton held leads of 1-0 and 2-1. It was a good start for the freshman, who led the team with nine kills, but Boeve was held to a low .054 efficiency for the match with seven attacking errors. Overall, Hinton hit just .067 as a team compared to .358 for the top-seeded Wolverines.

“Mainly we just knew we had to keep our offense balanced and spread them out,” Ortegren said. “We had to try to beat their block. We knew they had a good block. We had to get good passes up there so we could run all of our hitters. Unfortunately, we weren’t quite there with our passes. Our setter was pulled off the net a little bit. We were a little predictable as far as what we were hitting.”

After the early Hinton lead, Dike-New Hartford went on a run of five straight points to take control. Payton Petersen, last year’s captain of the 2A All-Tournament team, sparked the run with several kills in short succession. She ended the match as the leading attacker for the Wolverines with 18 kills and just one attacking error in the match.

“We talked about blocking her,” Ortegren said. “She’s got every option. She came out and went line on us pretty hard. We blocked cross court pretty well so we moved our block out to the antenna and hoped we’d get some good digs up there. We didn’t expect them to run as many slides and back sets as they did. That caught us off guard a little bit. They did an awesome job with passing and serve receive. They never missed a pass so they were able to run whatever they wanted on us.”

Hinton called their timeouts trailing 10-5 and 16-7 and ended up losing the opening frame by double digits 25-14 as Claire McCumber got one of her two ace serves for the penultimate point and Ellie Knock got a kill, one of her nine in the contest, for the clinching point.

Hinton put the first set behind them and put together a solid start to the second set. A block from Ashlyn Kovarna, kill from Boeve and an ace serve from Gabbie Friessen got the team started. Friessen led the team with two aces and 15 digs in the match. A kill from Carlene Hicklin, who finished with five in the match, a double touch violation from the Wolverines and a kill from Boeve helped make it 6-1 and forced a timeout. Hinton held on to a lead as big as five points as late as 11-6 as Natalee Junck got one of her four kills and the senior teamed up with Avery Burgad for a block, one of four block assists from Burgad, to get back to the five point lead.

(Photo By Roy Tucker) Natalee Junck, one of two seniors for Hinton, attacks the ball against Dike New-Hartford. She finished with four kills in the match.

“We were swinging really aggressively,” Junck said of the team’s start to the second set. “We were using their block and just swinging around it. That really helped us out and our serve receive was really good. All of that together helped us start strong. Our serving was pretty accurate this game.”

From there, Dike-New Hartford fought back into the frame as they tied the score at 14-14. After the score was tied once more at 15-15, Jadyn Petersen got one of her eight kills to break the tie and the Wolverines never trailed again as they went on to win 25-20.

Aubree Lake, the other senior on Hinton’s roster, got an ace to start the third set and the Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead with a block on the next point, part of six total team blocks in the match.

(Photo By Roy Tucker) Aubree Lake bumps the ball in Wednesday’s semifinal contest. The libero is one of two seniors who played in their final match.

“We played well throughout the whole thing. They just pushed more and they came out with the outcome they wanted and we didn’t,” Lake said. “I love this team. I’m very proud of where we are at. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted but I’m standing at the state tournament so I couldn’t be more proud of us.”

After scoring the first two points, Hinton struggled the rest of the set, hitting for a negative percentage in the frame while the Wolverines had their best hitting percentage of the three sets in the third.

“They hit us with some big runs and some big swings that kind of shot us off our feet a little bit,” Junck said. “We needed to regroup and regather. Overall, we just played our hardest.”

Hinton called timeouts trailing 8-3 and 14-4 before making one final push. Junck and Hicklin got kills while Hicklin and Burgad teamed up for a block. Kovarna later added a push over the net for one of her five kills as the setter had the best attacking efficiency for the team at .333 with some dumps over the net catching the Wolverines off-guard a few times during the match. She also had 17 assists and four digs as the digs brought her career total to 500.

Dike-New Hartford’s attack proved to be too much as they closed out the match with a 25-11 win in the third set.

While Hinton had their season come to an end, Junck said there’s no better place to end than at the state tournament.

“I’m super happy. This is the best season I’ve ever had,” Junck said. “I’m grateful we went out on this one since it’s my last year. It’s a great way to go out.”

Dike-New Hartford (45-2) advanced to play No. 2 Western Christian (42-5) in the championship match on Thursday.

Hinton (27-3) ends the season at the state tournament for just the third time in school history. They match the 2005 team for best finish in the semifinal round.

“To be perfectly honest, I thought we’d make it pretty far. But to make it here has been amazing,” Ortegren said. “It’s been quite an experience. The teams that we’ve played to get here, we just have so many major accomplishments we’ve had this season and I’m so proud of the girls and all they’ve done.”

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