It seemed appropriate that senior outside hitter Ashley Koppinger's kill ended the match, giving Our Redeemer's Christian School a 3-0 victory (25-10,25-8,25-13) over Hazen on Thursday at ORCS.
Koppinger finished with a game-high 16 kills, five more than Hazen had as a team. Her seven kills and one ace in the first game set the tone for the rest of the match.
"I got good sets from (junior setter) Brooke (Knutson) and (eighth-grade setter) Morgan (Olson), which helped a lot," Koppinger said. "It made it a lot easier for me out there."
Tim Chapman/MDN • Our Redeemer’s senior middle hitter Emily VanLith goes up for a kill against Hazen freshman outside hitter Stephanie Ziegler (6) and junior outside hitter Ashton Carter during Thursday’s match at ORCS.
Senior outside hitter Billie Bangen added 10 kills and led the team with four aces. Her third ace of the match completed a 5-0 run for the Knights and ended the second game.
"This game was helping us to prepare for this weekend," Bangen said. "We came out hard and viewed it as a practice for this weekend."
ORCS (7-2) jumped on Hazen from the beginning, taking a 7-0 lead in the first game. Koppinger and Bangen combined for 13 points in the opening frame. The Knights closed out the game with five unanswered points.
The second game started where the first one ended - a Koppinger kill. Consecutive aces by senior middle hitter Emily VanLith gave the Knights a 3-0 lead. Leading 12-6, ORCS tallied eight unanswered points and scored 13 of the final 15 points to end the second game.
"It was just one of those matches where everything worked," ORCS coach Sherry Carlson said. "Everybody was on, everybody got the ball, everybody got kills, everybody got aces. Everything was distributed nicely and that makes it tough for a team you're playing because they don't know who's getting the ball."
The Bison (5-5) didn't quit and built a 5-0 lead to open the third game with two kills by freshman outside hitter Stephanie Ziegler and an ace by sophomore libero Dakota Wood.
"I think they relaxed," Carlson said. "I don't think at anytime you can think that you have a game."
Trailing 6-5, the Knights responded with a 9-0 run led by Koppinger's two kills and a block.
"We haven't seen anybody hit the ball like that all season," Hazen coach Linette Irwin said. "Our Redeemer's played crazy good. They hit the ball really hard. It's hard to get into a rhythm offensively when you're digging the whole time."
ORCS will play in the Casselton Tournament on Saturday.