Crowning the Knights

BURLINGTON – The battle for bragging rights as the best Class B volleyball team in the Minot-area and the coveted District 12 championship took center stage Monday evening in Burlington.

Much like the match they played earlier in the season on Sept. 27, the No. 1-seeded Our Redeemer’s Christian School Knights knocked off No. 2 Bishop Ryan in straight sets by scores of 25-9, 25-20 and 25-12 to capture its third district championship in a row.

“It’s definitely the first time in school history and makes me so appreciated of each and every one of these girls,” ORCS coach Kara Nunziato said about winning three consecutive district championships. “I don’t think people realize how much time they put into this sport. For them to love the game so much, and interact so well as people, means more than anything to me as a coach.”

The Knights looked unbeatable from the opening whistle, as they rattled off nine straight points to start the match. Bishop Ryan only managed to score nine points in the first set, 25-9.

The second set started the same way as the first with ORCS jumping out to a commanding 7-0 lead.

“Volleyball is an absolute game of momentum and errors,” Nunziato said. “If you can start the game with momentum and continue that from first, second and even into that third set, it really puts you in a good position.”

ORCS senior Morgan Olson, named player of the tournament, led the Knights offense with the somewhat unique double-double in kills (13) and assists (16). Junior Karlee Zablotney also had 16 assists and senior libero Lauren Hendrickson made 11 digs.

Bishop Ryan made a run at the Knights in the second set after falling behind earlier, but couldn’t manage to claw all the way back, 25-20.

Senior Shayla Elm paced the Lions attack with eight kills and put up four blocks. Junior McKinlee Harmon added four kills and led the team in digs (7).

“I think we went in with a good mindset and we played really hard, especially in the second set,” Bishop Ryan coach Kaycee Grochow said. “(Falling behind early) is something that we have to learn how to shake. We can’t let them get on us right away.”

Bishop Ryan was able to avoid that in the third set by grabbing the first point and then trading the next couple of points with the Knights. However, ORCS jumped its lead out to 11-5 on a kill from junior Ryleigh Popinga that forced Grochow to call a timeout.

Having time to think things over wasn’t enough to keep the Knights from closing out the match, 25-12.

Both teams will advance to the Regional Tournament being held from Nov. 7-8, 10. The Region 6 matches will be played at the Minot Auditorium.

Lewis & Clark and DL-B volleyball qualify for Regionals out of District 12

BURLINGTON – The No. 5-seed Lewis & Clark Bombers and the No. 4 Des Lacs-Burlington Lakers are moving on to the Class B volleyball Regionals after winning on Monday at the District 12 volleyball tournament held in Burlington.

The Bombers needed all five sets to knock out No. 6 Glenburn by scores of 22-25, 25-14, 10-25, 25-23, 15-6. And the Lakers took care of No. 3 Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood in four sets (25-9, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22).

In the first match played, the Glenburn Panthers took the first set without giving up the lead and grabbed the third set convincingly, 25-10. Lewis & Clark found the spark they had been missing late in set four.

“Nothing was really going our way and they were aggressive in their serves,” L&C coach Brooke Sorro said. “They just completely controlled set three, but we fought back and took set four.”

Six points away from elimination, trailing 19-15, the Bombers were able to turn their season around with a 10-4 run to force a fifth frame.

“Glenburn controlled a lot of set four as well,” Sorro said. “We went ahead 22-21 and we just said ‘play smart and finish the set’ and the girls just all came together at that point and said ‘let’s get this.’ Then that momentum of set four is what took us into set five.”

The Bombers closed out the match with a 15-6 win in the decisive final frame.

Senior Kari Fritel and sophomore Abby Simons carried the Bombers attack with 20 and 19 kills, respectively.

In the match that followed, the home DL-B squad raced out to an early lead with a 25-9 win in set one. MLS kept the remaining three sets close, but could only manage to steal a set off the Lakers.

DLB setter Erica Moen tossed up 28 assists and Caitlyn Vogel (16) and Kayla Schaefer (14) had double-digit kills. Schaefer also picked up a match-high 19 digs.

The Class B Regionals will be held from Nov. 7-8, 10. The Region 6 matches will be played at the Minot Auditorium.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.