The Our Redeemer's Christian School volleyball team showed why it is one of the top teams in District 12 in its straight-game victory at Lewis & Clark on Tuesday.
The Knights (20-6-3 overall, 7-0 district) worked overtime in their first two games before using that momentum to complete the sweep (31-29, 27-25, 25-18).
"Playing those first two games, we were really nervous," senior outside hitter Billie Bangen said. "We felt like we had to get those games and it felt really good winning those two."
Our Redeemer’s Christian School senior Ashley Koppinger (14) and junior Brooke Knutson attempt to block a shot from Lewis & Clark junior outside hitter Bethany Limke during Tuesday’s game at L&C.
ORCS senior outside hitter Ashley Koppinger led the team with 20 kills and she and eighth-grade setter Morgan Olson anchored the defense with 13 digs each.
"It's always nice to pull through at the end of those games," Olson said. "Once we won those games we were fine."
Unlike in previous matches, when the Knights started slow and played catch up, ORCS took the lead early in games only to see the Bombers come back. The Knights led 17-11 in the first game before L&C scored 11 of the next 16 points to tie it at 22. Koppinger gave ORCS the lead following a timeout, but L&C senior outside hitter Lacey Marmon answered with a kill of her own.
On the Bombers' first game point, ORCS senior middle hitter Emily VanLith kept the Knights alive with one of her eight kills. ORCS held off another game point on a Koppinger kill. Tied at 29, another kill by Koppinger gave the Knights the lead before a shot by L&C junior outside hitter Elizabeth Nelson went into the net to end the game.
"We had trouble finishing at the end of the game," L&C coach Brooke Storro said. It's great that we were right there in the game, but we just have to be able to finish."
The second game was more of the same as ORCS took an 11-6 lead before the Bombers used aces and Knights miscues to take a 22-19 advantage. A kill by Koppinger and two shots out of bounds by the Bombers tied the score at 22. A block by VanLith, coupled with a kill by Olson, gave the Knights their first game point of the frame.
L&C answered with three consecutive points to earn its own game point. ORCS tied the game at 25 and an ace by sophomore outside hitter Gabi Boeckel and a kill by Koppinger gave the Knights a two-game lead.
"It's really good to know that we can pull through," ORCS coach Sherry Carlson said. "The first game was so crtical for both teams because we had worked so hard. Just to go into that second game having won the first one helped us a little bit."
The third game was less nerve-racking for ORCS, needing only the 25 regulation points to close out the match.
Junior setter Brooke Knutson finished with a team-high 23 assists. Olson contributed 12 more to pace the ORCS offense.
The Knights play in the Laker Invitational at 2 p.m. on Friday at Burlington-Des Lacs Elementary School. L&C plays at Kenmare at 7 p.m. on Thursday.