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The last of the 2006 fall sports programs came to an end this past week at South Dakota School of Mines as the volleyball team was knocked out of the Dakota Athletic Conference Tournament, while the men’s and women’s hoops team both played in away tournaments over the weekend
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- The last of the 2006 fall sports programs came to an end this past week at South Dakota School of Mines as the volleyball team was knocked out of the Dakota Athletic Conference Tournament, while the men’s and women’s hoops team both played in away tournaments over the weekend. The men traveled to California while the Lady Hardrockers competed in Montana.
The Lady Hardrocker netters finished the regular season with a 15-10 overall record and 6-8 in DAC play. It was quite a turnaround from a year ago when the SDM team only won one conference match all season. The elevated level of play also earned the group a fifth-place finish in the conference standings and a berth to the DAC tournament as the No. 5 seed.
The Hardrockers traveled to Valley City, N.D., to square off with the Lady Vikings (No. 4 seed) for the quarterfinal matchup where Mines fell, 3-2. The Vikings defeated South Dakota Mines, 26-30, 33-31, 25-30, 30-27, 15-11. It was the third time this season that Valley City and SDM had tangled and the third time that Valley City just barely squeaked out a win.
The Lady Rockers put up some solid numbers during the match. The team was 122-131 from the serve line with seven aces, had 60 kills and made good on 155 of 177 attacks, came down with 10 assisted blocks and two solo blocks, had 99 digs, 56 assists and was 98-101 on serve receive.
Individually, sophomore Jenny Hiykel (Omaha, Neb.) was quite a defensive asset, coming up with 27 digs, was 33-34 on serve receive and was a perfect 25-25 from the serve line with three aces.
Offensively, the Hardrockers had four girls with double digit kills. Freshman Katherine Hanson (Sioux Falls), sophomore Stephanie Carpio (Yuma, Colo.) and junior Jennie Malone (Rapid City) all tallied 13 kills while Agnieszka Koperek recorded 10 kills. Sophomore Tessa Howe (Omaha, Neb.) also had a good outing, coming up with 47 of the team’s 56 assists.
With the season over, the Hardrockers look forward to next year where the team should be even more improved. There will be no starters lost to graduation.
In other volleyball news, two Hardrocker netters received DAC honors. Both Koperek and Howe were named to the DAC second team Monday. Howe earned her spot as a setter while Koperek took honors as an outside hitter. Both Mines students also received DAC Player of the Week honors earlier in the season and Howe was name Region III Setter of the Week back in September.
The Hardrocker men got a chance to soak up a little sun as well as a chance to compete against some of the best competition that NAIA has to offer over the weekend. SDM played in the Tip-off tournament hosted by Azusa-Pacific University in California. The Rockers took on the host team Friday, followed by a bout with Concordia University (Calif.) Saturday evening.
Azusa was ranked in the Top 5 in NAIA Div., 1 during preseason and for good reason, rostering five Division 1 transfers. The Cougars defeated the Hardrockers, 89-59. Azusa led 40-18 at the half and never looked back. The Hardrockers did score 41 points in the second half, but the Cougars were too far out in front to gain any ground on.
Mines had two players reach double figures. Senior Brandon Fredrickson (Fort Collins, Colo.) put forth a good effort off the bench, stepping up for 20 points. He was 7-12 on field goals including a 6-10 effort from behind the arc. Fellow senior Casey Schmitz (Williston, N.D.) had 15 points on the night while Brandon Lord (Taylorville, Utah) dished in nine. Azusa had five players with 10-plus points.
Things didn’t get any easier in Saturday’s bout against Concordia. The Eagles are also a powerhouse in Div. 1 NAIA and ended up winning the contest, 100-60. The Hardrockers scored 30 in the first half and 30 in the second, but couldn’t keep pace with the Eagles 50-point posting in each half.
The Hardrockers only saw one player reach double figures in sophomore Donny DeGooyer, (Great Falls, Mont.). He finished the game with 10 points. Schmitz put up nine points while Lord and Fredrickson both added eight.
The Rockers return home this weekend with a 2-3 record. They will take on Montana Tech Saturday in a 5 p.m. bout.
The Lady Hardrockers took off for Billings, Mont., this last weekend to take part in the Rocky Mountain College Classic women’s tournament. SD Mines faced the host team Friday followed by a contest against Carroll College, Wyo., Saturday.
Against Rocky Mountain, the Lady Bears went up 10 points at half time, 41-31, and held off the charging Rockers over the last 20 minutes to win the non-conference bout, 74-67.
Freshman Madi Hotovec (Phoenix, Ariz.,) had an outstanding night individually, dishing in 23 points to pace the Hardrockers. Fellow freshman Bethany Holyoak (Moorcroft, Wyo.) and junior Melanie Vedvie (Lake Preston) both contributed with 13 points each.
In Saturday’s bout, the Hardrockers were pitted against a NAIA Div., 1 Top 10 ranked team in the Carroll Saints, and despite falling to the Helena, Mont., based school, 95-85, the Lady ‘Rockers were pretty solid.
The Hardrockers led at the half, 45-39, but a 56-point barrage in the second half by Carroll proved the difference.
SD School of Mines had five girls reach double figures. Vedvie led the charge with 22 points, followed by Hotovec’s 15. Rapid City’s own Jennie Malone (junior) put up 14 points while both Amber DeWeerd (junior from Rock Valley, Iowa) and Leah Sundby (freshman from Williston, N.D.) both cashed in for 13 points.
After the weekend, the Hardrockers fall to 1-4 on the season and will next see action at home this weekend in the Lady Hardrocker Classic basketball tournament. SD Mines welcomes Black Hills State, Rocky Mountain College and Menlo College (Calif.). Action begins Friday evening and concludes Saturday afternoon.
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