A week removed from Bishop Ryan's District 12 championship victory against Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood, the teams will meet again Thursday in the Region 6 title match.
The Lions District 12's top seed defeated Our Redeemer's Christian School in four sets and the Mavericks held off upset-minded Des Lacs-Burlington in a five-set thriller in the region semifinals Tuesday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
Ryan holds a 3-1 advantage against M-L-S this season. The Mavericks won their district match and the Lions won meetings in the Glenburn and Northwest Conference tournaments as well as the district championship tilt.
Bishop Ryan’s Hannah Stewart (30) and Anika Rovig (12) go up for a block as Our Redeemer’s eighth-grader Karlee Zablotney sets in a Region 6 semifinal match Tuesday at Minot Municipal Auditorium. Also pictured is Bishop Ryan junior Gabbie Bohl.
"We're expecting a good matchup," Ryan junior middle hitter Hannah Stewart said. "(M-L-S) is a good team. Everyone's goal is to get to state and then obviously to win state after that. We're going to try and come out with as much fire as we can because we know they want it just as much as we do."
Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood 3, Des Lacs-Burlington 2
M-L-S and DL-B played the match of the tournament thus far, scratching and clawing for every point.
The final point belonged to the Mavericks on junior outside hitter Callie Carlson's match-high 21st kill, sending M-L-S to the region championship with a 18-25, 25-13, 25-16, 24-26, 15-13 victory.
The Mavericks overcame a 12-10 deficit in the fifth set, winning five of the final six points. A DL-B error, followed by a Carlson kill tied the set before the Lakers took a brief 13-12 lead on sophomore middle hitter Brittany DeGree's 13th kill of the match. M-L-S responded with two Carlson kills and an ace by senior setter Shania Brackenbury to keep its goal of a region title alive.
"In that fifth set, they just wanted to go out there and not be done with their season," M-L-S coach Culynn Solloway said. "They want to play and they wanted another chance at Our Redeemer's and Bishop Ryan."
The Lakers carried the momentum from upsetting District 11 top seed Bottineau on Monday. Tied 17-all, DL-B closed the first set on an 8-1 run. The DeGree trio Brittany, Megan and Courtney - recorded 13 kills and four blocks in the opening game.
M-L-S had its own trio it turned to in hopes of swinging the momentum in its favor. Carlson, senior middle blocker Alex Mott and senior outside hitter Sierra Smith led the Mavericks to back-to-back set victories.
"They wanted it just as much as we did," Carlson said of DL-B. "DL-B is a great team and they looked really good tonight. I guess we just pushed a little harder. We just wanted it really bad."
DL-B saw its hopes of a region championship appearance dwindling trailing 23-20 in the fourth set. But three straight kills and an M-L-S error set up game point for the Lakers. DL-B won the set three points later.
"We knew Mohall was a team we could play with," DL-B coach Tarra Froseth said. "There were times where we had the upper hand and there were times where they had the upper hand. They had the swing at the end and that's when they got us."
Bishop Ryan 3, Our Redeemer's Christian School 1
The Bishop Ryan volleyball program took another step in its goal of joining the girls basketball and softball teams as state tournament representatives in their respective sports.
Junior middle blocker Gabbie Bohl recorded a match-high 17 kills and Stewart added 14 and seven blocks in a 25-16, 20-25, 25-5, 25-17 victory against Our Redeemer's Christian School.
The Lions seized control early in the first set with a mixture of kills by Bohl and Stewart, coupled with unforced errors by the Knights. Stewart's second block gave Ryan set point up 24-11. ORCS withstood six game points before a kill by Stewart sealed it.
"I know we had some pretty low points, but we had a lot of good points, too," ORCS coach Kara Nunziato said. "Bishop Ryan had a great game. All of their hitters were on board. It was a fun game to play. I know it's tough to lose like that, but I couldn't be more proud of the Knights."
ORCS freshman Morgan Olson kept the Knights from an 0-2 hole, recording five of her team-high 15 kills in the second set. The fifth knotted the match at one set apiece.
"We have trouble pulling it out in three games," Stewart said. "That's going to be a goal for the championship match, just finish every single game, not focus on the big picture, but win each point at a time."
Ryan flexed its muscle in the third set as Stewart stuffed every shot in her vicinity. Stewart blocked four shots in the game.
"Our Redeemer's has always done a really good job of hitting around our blocks and my block in the middle," Stewart said. "I was focusing more on staying on their arm and tracking their arms instead of the ball."
The teams exchanged points throughout the first half of the fourth set before the Lions went on a late run to ensure a spot in the championship match. Defensively, Ryan made points hard to come by for the Knights. Senior Maddie Lipp led the Lions with 19 digs and junior Maddie Wald and senior Anika Rovig combined for 30.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics, the Minot State University men's club hockey team and the Minot Minotauros. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.