Ashley Pyburn and Kia Heide combined for 35 kills and 11 ace serves as the Nevis volleyball team opened the Section 5A North tournament with wins over Pillager and Verndale.

Heide’s six service aces and seven kills and Pyburn’s three service aces and five kills led Nevis to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-15) victory over Pillager Thursday night at the Tiger Arena. Nevis entered as the No. 3 seed in the North B bracket while Pillager was the No. 6 seed.

Pyburn pounded down 16 kills and Heide had seven kills as the Tigers eliminated No. 2 Verndale 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-22) Friday night at Verndale.

Nevis jumped out to early leads in all three sets to defeat Pillager.

In Set 1, Pyburn served two aces and had three kills, Sadie Thurner served an ace, and Makenna Frazier, Ava Isaacson and Jessica Swanda had kills as Nevis jumped out to a 15-9 lead. After a kill by Frazier, three kills by Heide, a tip by Andrea Dudley and a kill by Pyburn closed out the set.

An ace serve by Pyburn, a kill by Swanda, an ace serve by Heide, a block by Isaacson and Pyburn, and a kill by Isaacson sparked the Tigers to a 14-6 lead in Set 2. Kills by Swanda and Heide, a tip by Dudley and an ace serve by Cole Mastley closed out that set.

A block by Frazier and Isaacson, a block by Swanda, an ace serve by Thurner, and five ace serves by Heide gave Nevis a 12-5 lead to begin Set 3. A kill by Frazier, a block by Frazier and Swanda, and kills by Heide and Thurner made it 18-13 before a tip by Heide, a kill by Pyburn and an ace serve by  Dudley ended the match.

Dudley had 21 set assists while Thurner (7) and Frazier (6) combined for 13 digs for the Tigers, who put 71 of 75 serves in play with 13 aces while recording 25 kills with only six hitting errors.

Jordyn VanVickle’s 11 kills and 14 digs and Danielle Kocur’s eight kills led the Huskies, who ended the season with an 8-19 record.

The Tigers put 67 of 73 serves in play and overcame 19 hitting errors with 36 kills and 66 digs in the win over Verndale.

Dudley had 24 set assists while Thurner (21), Dudley (12) and Maggie Carrier (12) had double digits in digs as Nevis improved to 19-9. Nevis defeated the Pirates 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-14, 25-17) on Sept. 18.

Morgan Glenz’s 16 kills and 14 digs, Molly Brownlow’s 20 digs and Tess Jones’ 16 digs led the Pirates, who end the season with a 17-11 record.

Nevis will play Rush City on Tuesday (Oct. 30) at 7:30 p.m. at Aitkin with the winner advancing to play the winner between Pine River-Backus and Braham at Little Falls on Thursday (Nov. 1) at 7:30 p.m. The Section 5A championship match is set for Saturday (Nov. 3) at 7 p.m. at Little Falls.

Nevis statistics vs. Pillager
Nevis statistics vs. Verndale