The Langdon volleyball team gave Our Redeemer's Christian School a rude welcome to its first state tournament appearance since 2004.
The Cardinals showed why they have appeared in a record 15 state tournaments and have three titles to their credit, sweeping the Knights 25-22, 25-19, 25-19 Thursday in the first round of the state tournament at the Minot State University Dome.
Langdon used long scoring runs in each set to build comfortable leads the Knights couldn't overcome. In the second set, the Cardinals jumped out to a 7-1 lead. They scored eight unanswered points in the third set to break a 10-10 tie.
"When (my players) started making mistakes, they just lost the momentum," ORCS coach Sherry Carlson said. "When they tried to get the momentum back, they couldn't keep it. When you're at this level, you can't afford to go in a hole and expect to get out of it every single time."
Langdon posted 10 aces in the match, including a team-high four by outside hitter Lyndee Johnson.
"We worked hard on our serving all year and I think that's what helped us get on big runs," Langdon outside hitter Abbey Braaten said.
Braaten had a strong game, finishing with a match-high 13 kills and also contributing six digs and three aces.
The Langdon defense was just as strong as its service game, limiting ORCS senior outside hitter Ashley Koppinger to eight kills. The Knights had just 22 kills compared to 35 for the Cardinals.
"We had contributions from everybody," Langdon coach Rich Olson said. "It was a great team effort. We were able to get Our Redeemer's a little bit out of system with our serve. I thought our serve was aggressive."
Despite Langdon's rich history at state, Olson didn't believe that was a factor in the outcome of the match.
"We only have two players on our roster that were on the team in 2010," Olson said. "Most of the girls on our roster are experiencing this for the first time just like Our Redeemer's."
Carlson believed that experience at state played a role in the way her team played.
"That state experience, that first time, you just have to be mentally strong for that," Carlson said. "Hopefully we'll regroup tonight and be ready to come back and not take anybody for granted."
While the Knights ended their long state-tournament drought, the loss will linger.
"I wanted them to play well and it's hard walking off the court knowing you didn't," Carlson said.
Langdon advances to the semifinals to play Park River-Fordville-Lankin tonight at 8. ORCS drops into the consolation bracket and plays Ray at 2 p.m.