Every time the Carrington volleyball team needed a point in a late-game situation, the Cardinals got it.
All three sets were deadlocked late and all three games went the way of the fourth-seeded Cardinals in a straight-set victory against Beulah in the first round of the Class B state tournament Thursday at the Minot State University Dome.
Senior middle blocker Madison Wendel led the Region 4 champion Cardinals (30-7) with match highs in kills (15) and blocks (7) in the 25-20, 25-22, 25-21 victory. Carrington plays top-seeded Northern Cass in the semifinals tonight at 8.
Carrington senior Jacey Engelhorn dives for a successful dig in front of classmate Madison
Wendel during the Cardinals’ 3-0 win over Beulah on Thursday at the Minot State University Dome.
Carrington's first state tournament match came a little later than anticipated after an hour-long power outage pushed its match to 9 p.m. It was worth the wait as the state newcomers were calm and collected in the most pressure-packed moments.
"They do have that experience on the court and they aren't intimidated by being down by a couple points," Carrington coach Sharon Boehmer said. "Their concern is point by point to get themselves back in it and that's a difference maker. They don't give up mentally."
When the Region 7 champion Miners (26-13) closed to within two at 21-19 in the opening set, the Cardinals responded by tallying four of the final five points. Carrington finished off the game with a Wendel block and a kill by setter Brooke Rosenau.
"I thought we defended well enough," Beulah coach Kevin Peterson said. "I thought we did a good enough job on our serve receive. We just had too many errors they forced us into. We were not aggressive enough from the service line to get them out of system."
The teams traded points in the second set as neither team led by more than three points. Beulah took its last lead of the set at 19-18 before Carrington came through when it mattered most. Senior middle blocker Page Anderson squared the set with a kill and Rosenau's ace put Carrington in front. Tied at 22, the Cardinals won the final three points.
Beulah led the majority of the third set, trying desperately to prolong the match. A combination of kills by junior outside hitters Jaime Murschel, Delaney Johansen and Nicole Schramm put the Miners in front, but Wendel and senior outside hitter Kayla Hochhalter kept the Cardinals close.
Carrington trailed 18-17 before closing the match on an 8-3 run.
"It was a good match, but (Carrington) made plays when they had to make plays to get that separation," Peterson said. "We hung back and then we just kind of had a hard time getting over that next step."
In a matchup pitting two of the top setters in Class B against one another, Rosenau and Beulah senior Lakin Kessler were their usual selves. Rosenau dished out a match-high 39 assists and Kessler countered with 33.
"Brooke did an awesome job," Boehmer said. "She mixed it up with her hits going outside and running some quick hits with Madison, who got on top of it and put it down. Your setter is one of your most important players. They're all important, but what she does on the court makes all the difference in the world."
Johansen led Beulah with 14 kills.
The Miners play Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood in a consolation match today at 2 p.m.