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Tigers open section play with two wins

Nevis' (from left) Ashley Pyburn, Janesa Felt (2), Andrea Dudley (5), Montana Baker (13) and Jessica Swanda celebrated after defeating Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Friday night. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Two solid performances led the Nevis volleyball team to two impressive wins at the Tiger Arena to open the Section 5A tournament.

The Tigers used 37 kills and 52 digs in rolling to a 25-8, 25-9, 25-11 victory over Bertha-Hewitt Thursday night and relied on another balanced offensive attack for a 25-15, 25-23, 15-25, 25-18 win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Friday night.

Nevis, the No. 2 seed in the North B bracket, dominated No. 7 Bertha-Hewitt as Ashley Pyburn's 17 kills and Kia Heide's nine kills led the way. Cora Umthun served three aces and Vivian Viloria served two aces while Andrea Dudley tallied 29 set assists. Sadie Thurner (10), Pyburn (9) and Jessica Swanda (7) combined for 26 digs. The Tigers put 69 of 73 serves in play with eight aces and had only five hitting errors and two errors on serve receive in coasting to the win.

The Tigers advanced to the next round by defeating W-H-A by a 3-1 margin for the second time this season.

Two kills by Montana Baker, ace serves by Baker and Dudley, and kills by Swanda and Pyburn gave Nevis a 15-9 lead in Set 1. A kill by Heide, a block and two kills by Pyburn, and two kills by Baker closed out the opening set.

A pair of kills by Pyburn, kills by Baker and Heide, and an ace serve by Dudley gave Nevis a 5-4 edge in Set 2. W-H-A rallied for a 14-13 lead before Madison Neyens served an ace and four points. Heide had a kill and Dudley had a winning tip as the Tigers led 18-14. Two kills by Heide, winning tips by Janesa Felt and Pyburn, and a kill by Baker ended that set.

Nevis jumped out to a 5-1 lead in Set 3 behind an ace serve by Felt and two kills by Baker. The jNo. 3-seeded Wolves went on a 14-3 scoring spree before a block by Swanda ended that run. A kill by Pyburn and a tip by Dudley kept Nevis within 21-13 before W-H-A extended the match.

The Tigers controlled Set 4 as three kills by Baker, two ace serves by Felt, and kills by Pyburn and Heide produced a 9-6 lead. Dudley then served two aces and five points as a pair of blocks by Swanda extended the lead to 14-6. A kill by Pyburn, two tips by Dudley and a pair of kills by Pyburn closed out the match.

The two wins lifted Nevis' record to 19-10 entering Tuesday night's match against Rush City at Aitkin. Bertha-Hewitt ended the season with a 3-23 record while W-H-A finished at 20-10.

"I'm very happy with how the girls have played in the section matches so far. This is a great group of girls and a lot of fun to coach," said Nevis head coach Heidi Wormley. "My seniors have stepped up at every corner and showed leadership and determination in leading the girls. I'm also very pleased with my captains' dedication to the team and always putting the team's needs above everybody else's."

Nevis statistics vs. Bertha-Hewitt

Attacks: Pyburn 27 (17 kills), Heide 23 (9 kills), Baker 11 (6 kills), Swanda 5 (4 kills), Dudley 13 (1 kill), Felt 6, Isaacson 4, Thurner 2, Neyens 2, Viloria 1, Umthun 1.

Serves: Felt 20 for 20 (1 ace), Dudley 12 for 12 (1 ace), Viloria 11 for 12 (2 aces), Thurner 10 for 11, Umthun 6 for 6 (3 aces), Pyburn 4 for 4, Neyens 3 for 5 (1 ace), Viloria 1, Umthun 1.

Sets: Dudley 53 (29 assists), Felt 7 (2 assists), Neyens 7 (1 assist), Pyburn 4, Thurner 3, Viloria 2, Swanda 2, Heide 2, Mastley 1 (1 assist), Isaacson 1.

Digs: Thurner 10, Pyburn 9, Swanda 7, Dudley 6, Felt 5, Viloria 5, Heide 3, Neyens 3, Umthun 2, Baker 2.

Blocks: Dudley 1.

Serve receive: Pyburn 9 for 9, Thurner 5 for 6, Viloria 3 for 4, Heide 2 for 2, Swanda 1 for 1, Umthun 1 for 1, Baker 1 for 1, Mastley 1 for 1.