It wasn't the best night for the Our Redeemer's Christian School volleyball team, but it was enough to earn a straight-set victory against District 12 foe Berthold.
The Knights shook off a number of unforced errors to knock off the Bombers 25-19, 25-22, 25-19 on Tuesday to remain tied atop the district standings with Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood. The Mavericks defeated Des Lacs-Burlington in five sets Tuesday.
"Tonight, (Berthold) came in and served so aggressively," ORCS coach Kara Nunziato said. "Our serve receive was really tripped up. I didn't see the passes we normally have and it comes from Berthold's serving."
Our Redeemer’s Christian School junior Megan Hogue spikes a ball past Berthold senior Rachel Birdsall (8) and junior Trisha Howell (12) on Tuesday at ORCS.
Four of Berthold's first six points came via ORCS miscues, but the Knights (26-8 overall, 5-0 district) trailed only once in the opening set at 14-13. ORCS responded by winning 11 of the final 16 points to take the first set. The Bombers made their share of errors, committing eight in the opening game.
Whenever the Knights jumped out to a big lead, Berthold (12-7-1, 2-3) responded with a run of its own to get back into the game. Although the Bombers finished with less aces (6) than ORCS (13), the Knights had trouble setting up their offense after receiving serves. Berthold's serving game helped the Bombers come back from 8-3 and 22-16 deficits in the second set.
"We didn't have many errors in our serving game," said Berthold coach Brooke Storro, a former ORCS coach. "We've been working on that. That's something we have had some errors in. I'm proud of the girls for their consistency in that area."
Berthold senior Jerica Schwanz and junior Madison Erickson each had two aces.
Regardless of how close Berthold came to grabbing the lead, ORCS persevered and won vital points to swing the momentum in its favor. When the Bombers rallied to tie the second set at 10, kills by juniors Megan Hogue and Gabi Boeckel and aces by Hogue and freshman Morgan Olson gave the Knights some breathing room. After the Bombers won six straight points and 7 of 8 to trim ORCS' lead to 23-22, the Knights won the final two rallies to win the set.
"It's nice to know the girls are fighters," Nunziato said. "When they let teams come back and compete with them, or get stuck in a rut and dig themselves a hole, it's nice to know these girls will fight to dig themselves out. We've done that a few times this year."
It was the Knights' serving that helped close out the Bombers in straight sets. ORCS recorded seven aces in the final game. Freshman libero Lauren Hendrickson had three aces in the set and Boeckel added two more. Boeckel finished with a match-high four aces.
"Probably not our best game," Hendrickson said. "We could have talked a lot more and played better defense and made better passes. But I think it was a learning experience. I hope in the upcoming games we play better and learn from tonight."
ORCS freshman middle blocker Makayla Gartner finished with a match-high 10 kills and Hendrickson led the defensive effort with 18 digs.
Both teams play home matches at 7 p.m. Thursday. ORCS plays Surrey and Berthold hosts Kenmare.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics, the Minot Minotauros and the Minot State University men's club hockey team. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.