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Defense keys strong start for Beulah volleyball team

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Strong defense has helped the Beulah Miners get off to a fast start.

The Miners have won 15 of 17 matches so far this fall, and moved into the state Class B poll this week at No. 10. On Tuesday night, Beulah swept Beach to win its eighth consecutive match and remain unbeaten in Region 7 play.

“Our defense has been strong,” Miners coach Brian Filibeck said. “We’ve got a nice block up front, which can be kind of intimidating. Our back row, digging on defense, we’re able to control the ball.

“We’ve played against some teams with some big hitters and we’ve been doing a nice job digging balls up, not giving them easy kills. We’ve got some work to do on serve receive, but we’ve been able to keep it in play and at least get an aggressive swing on offense.”

Senior Jenna Koppelsloen and junior Shea Barron have led the Miners offensively.

“Jenna was an all-region player for us last year, she’s one of our main hitters, has a ton of power,” Filibeck said. “One thing people don’t notice is that she’s good in the back row, too. She has good vision, can move from side to side.”

Barron, who moved into the Miners lineup last season, leads the Miners in kills, with a slight edge over Koppelsloen.

“She’s 6-1, has a ton of power,” Filibeck said. “It’s been kind of an unexpected blessing to have that second hitter that can put the ball down.”

Junior setter Graysen Connolly has been directing the offense on the floor.

“She set for us last year in a 6-2, so she gained some experience out there,” Filibeck said. “With Jenna and Shea back, she’s got some chemistry with them out there. She put in a lot of work in the offseason, played travel ball, got some specific setter training. She’s come a long way with her consistency.”

Savana Filibeck, another junior, has played well as the Miners’ libero.

“We’ve got some good, talented people where they need to be to make the back row solid,” Filibeck said. “Savana isn’t afraid to get on the floor.”

Dickinson Trinity (8-1) and Beulah (15-2) are each off to a 4-0 start in league play. They’ll square off on Tuesday, Sept. 27 in Dickinson.

“The top tier of the region, we still have to play yet,” Filibeck said. “Everybody is chasing Trinity. They’ve won the region the last couple of years and they have most of their team back. We’ve got them on Tuesday night.

“Glen Ullin-Hebron is solid too and Bowman County – we have those two later in October. Those will be two tests where we’ll have to take care of business. Trinity’s already played Glen Ullin and Bowman and won.”

The Miners will be competing on Saturday in the eight-team Shiloh Christian tournament. Central McLean, Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter and Wilton-Wing will be in Beulah’s pool. The Skyhawks, Kindred Strasburg-Zeeland and Standing Rock are also playing in the tournament.

The Miners will also play in a tough 20-team Des Lacs-Burlington tournament on Sept. 30.-Oct. 1.

“There’s going to be a lot of good competition,” Filibeck said.

Loboes, Patriots square off

No. 1-ranked LaMoure-Litchville-Marion (5-0) hits the road for a big test in Class B nine-man play.

The Loboes visit Region 2 power Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg (5-0) – ranked No. 4 in the latest poll – on Friday night.

LLM has outscored its four opponents – their other win was a forfeit over Tri-State – 216-0. MPCG, coming off a 70-20 win over Hatton-Northwood, has outscored its five foes 239-54.

Nine-man matchups

New Salem-Almont, ranked No. 2 in nine-man, takes a 5-0 mark on the road to Richardton-Taylor-Hebron (0-5) on Thursday night.

South Border (4-1), receiving votes in the nine-man poll, is at Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter (2-3). The Mustangs bounced back from a loss to New Salem-Almont with a 48-12 win over Kidder County last week. The Imperials lost to NSA 48-0 last week.

Aggies still unbeaten

Velva-Drake-Anamoose-Garrison (5-0), ranked No. 3 in Class B 11-man, will host Kenmare-Bowbells-Burke Central on Friday. The Aggies are averaging 44 points per game. The Honkers (3-2) are coming off a 30-12 win over Stanley.

Dickinson Trinity (5-0), ranked No. 2 in 11-man, hosts Bowman County (3-2). The Titans are averaging 49.8 points per game. The Bulldogs (4-2) are coming off a 21-14 setback at Shiloh Christian.

Beulah (4-1), the other team unbeaten in Region 4 play, hosts Killdeer. Shiloh Christian (4-1) is at Hazen (3-2). Both teams are 2-1 in the region.

Bulldogs top cross country poll

Bowman County is No. 1 in the latest Class B boys cross country poll.

Austin Wanner (No. 2), Caleb Sarsland (No. 4), Taylor Wanner (No. 8) and Jonah Njos (No. 9) give the Bulldogs four runners in the individual top 10.

New Town is ranked No. 2 as a team, and Cole Spotted Bear is sixth individually.

Jekori Dahlen of Killdeer in seventh individually.

Bowman County’s girls are ranked third.

Hannah Westin of Shiloh Christian is ranked second, while Addie Miller of Killdeer is seventh.

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