Lady Tigers to defend District 11A Thursday

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By Jay Davis

When the ball starts flying across the net at Mobridge-Pollock High School Gymnasium on Thursday, the Lady Tigers will be huge favorites to win their fifth straight district title.
“We need to make a statement that we’re going to come out aggressive and take control,” said coach Keri Bolduan, “and let the region know that they had better be ready for us.”A win would be four straight District 11 A titles, part of a streak that began when the Lady Tigers won the District 12A title in 2008.
The Lady Tigers will square off against 1-23 Stanley County in the semifinals. The Lady Tigers beat the Lady Buffs 2-0 at the Big Dakota Conference Tournament. It has been a struggle for Stanley County. The Buffs’ only win came against Todd County (6-22) in early October.
The district proceedings will start at 5 p.m. when two seed Cheyenne-Eagle Butte takes on three seed McLaughlin. While the Braves are 14-14, and the Lady Midgets 11-13, their semifinal match has all the makings of a five-set fight. The Lady Midgets won both meetings with the Braves during the regular season. McLaughlin won 3-1 in Eagle Butte in early September and 3-2 in McLaughlin on Oct. 16.
Both teams had hot streaks late in the season, but ended things on a low. McLaughlin won five out of six matches, and four in row, before dropping a 3-9 match to Dupree (3-17) at home last week. The Braves ran off a seven-match winning streak, but fell off and lost their last four matches, including three in a row at home. There was one win in between, but it was a forfeit win over Standing Rock.
The Lady Tigers and Stanley County will start about 20 minutes after the completion of the first semifinal match. The championship match will start after a 30-minute break.
Assuming Mobridge-Pollock works past Stanley County, neither the Braves nor Midgets have success against the Lady Tigers to fall back on. The Lady Tigers swept both teams 3-0 during the regular season. Should Cheyenne-Eagle Butte defeat McLaughlin, it would mark the fourth straight year the Lady Tigers and Braves played in the championship match.
While a team or coach should never look too far into the future, the Region 6A championship match is close enough to talk about. Unless catastrophe befalls the Lady Tigers, they will be traveling to Gettysburg on Tuesday for what has become their annual match with the District 12A champions.
Chamberlain is the favorite to win the title. The 21-5 Cubs are 2-0 against Miller (14-12) with a 2-0 win at the Central South Dakota Conference Tournament and a 3-1 win in Miller. The Rustlers and Cubs play for the 12A title on Thursday. Miller beat Crow Creek last night to advance in the three-team district.
Chamberlain has won two straight against the Lady Tigers. Mobridge-Pollock whipped the Cubs 3-0 in the season-opener, but since then the Cubs have beaten the Lady Tigers 2-0 at the Big Dakota Conference Tournament and 2-1 at the CSDC Tournament.
“We’ll have to be aggressive and play hard,” said Bolduan. “We have to go after their serve receive. It will be a key for us and we’ve been working on attacking them.”

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