KENMARE In the 25 years that Kenmare volleyball coach Tim Wallstrum has coached, the Honkers had never hosted a District 12 tournament. Kenmare made it an event worth waiting for as the No. 2-seeded Honkers swept top-seeded Our Redeemer's Christian School (25-12, 26-24, 25-22) on Tuesday to capture their eighth consecutive district title.
"It's great, I love it," Wallstrum said. "It was nice to win it."
Kenmare used the home-court advantage to overwhelm the Knights in the first set. Senior outside hitter Shelby Hass and junior outside hitter Katie Nelson provided the bulk of the scoring for the Honkers, both finishing with a match-high 11 kills.
Our Redeemer's Christian School senior middle hitter Emily VanLith attempts to tip a pass over Kenmare junior middle hitter Katie Nelson during Tuesday's District 12 championship at Kenmare High School.
"It was an exciting game," Hass said. "The crowd was fun."
After taking the opening set with ease, Kenmare had its hands full in the second and third games. ORCS senior outside hitter Ashley Koppinger did all she could, leading the team in kills (15), digs (12) and blocks (four).
Kenmare's defense helped keep the Knights from making any large runs and grabbing momentum. Nelson and senior libero Morgan Goettle were solid returning serves for the Honkers. Nelson had 10 digs and Goettle finished with eight.
"We really just came together tonight," Hass said. "The crowd was awesome and we really fed off their energy."
Winning the district tournament is nothing new for Kenmare, but Wallstrum couldn't pinpoint an exact reason for the success on the big stage.
"I don't really know," Wallstrum said. "The girls just really love to play. Last night was the pressure game. Tonight was the relaxing game. You just want to make it into the regional tournament and I always think the semifinal is where the pressure is."
For as relaxed as the Honkers were, the Knights played tight, according to ORCS coach Sherry Carlson.
"What makes this one difficult is that we didn't play our game," Carlson said. "We played tight. If we're playing tight in a district championship, how are we going to get to a regional championship?"
As the top two teams in the district, no one in the packed gymnasium believed that it would be over after three sets.
"Never, no way," Wallstrum said. "(ORCS) is such a dynamic team and they have one of, if not, the best players in the state (Koppinger). When you're playing against a dynamic player like that, you never think you're going to win in a sweep."
Said Hass: "We expected a hard fight out of them. But it was really exciting to get them in three games."
With the region tournament beginning Monday, Carlson is hoping her team can play much looser than they did Tuesday.
"When we play loose and have fun, we do so well," Carlson. "When we play tight we make too many mistakes. We have to get over that hump."
Carlson was named District 12 Coach of the Year and Koppinger was awarded District 12 Outstanding Senior.
The Honkers will play TGU and ORCS faces Rugby on Monday in the first round of the region tournament at the Minot Auditorium.
Bishop Ryan 3, Lewis & Clark 0
The Bishop Ryan volleyball team's season continues after defeating Lewis & Clark in straight sets (25-23, 25-14, 25-22) in a region qualifier Tuesday at Kenmare High School.
The No. 4-seeded Lions avenged an early-season loss to the No. 3-seeded Bombers in district play to advance to the region tournament starting Monday. L&C's season is over.
"We beat them in a tournament, they beat us when it counted and we beat them in the end," Ryan coach Patty Luetzen said.
Sophomore outside hitter Hannah Stewart and sophomore middle hitter Gabbie Bohl led the offense with 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Leading 24-23 in the first set, Stewart delivered a kill to give the Lions an opening-game victory.
The momentum carried over to the second set as Ryan controlled the game. Junior setter Maddie Lipp had a match-high 29 assists to set up Stewart, Bohl and senior middle hitter Quinn Harmon.
"We just got the job done," Luetzen said.
Bohl led the Lions with four aces and two blocks.
L&C senior outside hitter Lacey Marmon finished with a team-high eight kills for the Bombers, who became the second of two No. 3 seeds to be eliminated in the region.
Ryan will face Bottineau in the region tournament.
Glenburn 3, Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood 2
After winning the first two sets, the Glenburn volleyball team found itself in a dogfight with Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood for a spot in the region tournament.
The No. 6-seeded Panthers won the decisive fifth set to advance to the region tournament, eliminating the No. 5-seeded Mavericks, 25-21, 25-19, 17-25, 17-25, 15-10, in the District 12 tournament Tuesday at Kenmare High School.
Sophomore outside hitter Parker Bush led Glenburn with 14 kills and 34 digs.
M-L-S used its height in the third and fourth sets to tie the match at two games apiece. Junior middle hitter Alex Mott had seven blocks for the Mavericks.
Glenburn regrouped in the fifth set, leading from start to finish. Glenburn will face Velva in the region tournament.