ORCS hopes third time’s the charm at state

Our Redeemer’s Cara Steede goes up for a kill in a District 12 tournament match against Des Lacs-Burlington on Oct. 28. The Knights will open the state tournament Thursday against Ray at the Fargodome. Mark Jones/MDN

It could be argued Our Redeemer’s Christian School has experienced more heartache at the state tournament than most, if not all, of the other Class B schools in the state.

The Knights, who have never won a state team title in any sport in school history, will be looking to correct a lot wrongs this weekend at the Class B volleyball state tournament at the Fargodome in Fargo.

ORCS will be making its third straight appearance at state in hopes the third time’s the charm.

In each of the past two tournaments, the Knights have lost in the semifinals. ORCS lost to eventual state champion LaMoure in five games in last year’s state semifinals. The Loboes rallied from a two-game deficit to stun the Knights.

And while the disappointment from the past still lingers for ORCS, the Knights know they must focus on the present.

“It does hurt to be honest,” ORCS senior Morgan Olson said. “But it’s a new year and we are looking to go in and play every game no matter who is on the other side of the net.”

First up for the Knights this weekend is a quarterfinal matchup against Region 8 champion Ray Thursday at 6 p.m. ORCS and Ray have faced each other in the quarterfinals in each of the past two state tournaments, with the Knights sweeping both matches.

“It definitely prepares us,” Olson said of being familiar with the Jays. “It’s comforting to not be going in blind. It’s good to know who they have. I know a couple of their hitters we need to key on.”

The Knights (40-2) come into the tournament as the top overall seed, and will face either Park River/Fordville-Lankin or Kindred in the semifinals.

ORCS likely won’t face LaMoure until the championship match. It’s also possible the Knights could see Langdon Area-Edmore/Munich later in the weekend.

The Cardinals claimed the Region 4 championship earlier this month with a sweep of North Star, who was the only Class B team to beat ORCS this season.

“I expected them to have a good match with Langdon,” ORCS senior setter Lauren Hendrickson said. “I was kind of surprised that (North Star) didn’t beat Langdon. But Langdon is also a good team.”

And in order for the Knights to get over the hurdle of the semifinals, ORCS coach Kara Nunziato says it will take a team effort.

“It’s got to be a team effort,” she said. “It’s got to be everybody. We can’t rely on one person. We need to bring our blocking game at the net and have our defense ready. Offensively, every hitter needs to be ready to swing.”

Mark Jones covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MarkJones27_MDN


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