Our Redeemer's Christian School seniors Ashley Koppinger, Emily VanLith and Billie Bangen were set on winning their final match as members of the Knights volleyball team.
Their determination paid off as the Knights defeated Flasher in four sets (22-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-20) to win the state tournament consolation championship Saturday at the Minot State University Dome.
The senior trio combined for 51 digs, 48 kills, 10 blocks and seven aces. Koppinger finished with a match-high 32 kills and five blocks.
Our Redeemer’s Christian School senior middle hitter Emily VanLith tips a shot over Flasher senior middle blocker Melissa Campbell during the Class B state tournament consolation championship Saturday at the MSU Dome.
"The win was very meaningful," Koppinger said. "As our last game, going out with a win makes it much more memorable."
The Bulldogs looked poised to spoil the seniors' farewell match after winning the first set. Flasher senior outside hitter Micaela Meyer paced the Bulldogs' offense with a team-high 17 kills.
But the Knights (34-9-4 overall) fought back to win the final three sets.
"The girls wanted to finish strong and play their game," ORCS coach Sherry Carlson said. "They wanted to finish as consolation champions. That meant a lot to them. After they lost to Langdon, they set their sights on that."
Bangen put an exclamation mark on the season with the match-ending kill. Bangen and VanLith each finished with eight kills.
"It's always nice to go out with a win and just being able to show how close our team is," Bangen said.
The ORCS seniors dominated the final set of their careers. They combined for eight kills, three aces and a block.
"We had a really good season and it was so much fun playing with these girls," VanLith said. "To get this far, we feel really blessed."
Carlson said it will be tough to replace the trio going forward.
"They contributed a lot as far as the team goes in every way," she said. "They were silent leaders and vocal leaders. It's going to be tough to not have them next year."