Sweet Victory

Bishop Ryan gets first win of the season against Bottineau, 3-1

Justin Martinez/MDN Bishop Ryan comes together to celebrate after securing a point in its 3-1 victory over Bottineau on Thursday night in Minot.

With the match up for grabs, Abbie McKay stepped it up.

Bishop Ryan had split the first two sets with Bottineau in its 3-1 victory on Thursday night. Now the scoreboard read 23-23 in the pivotal third set as each team looked to get the crucial win.

After digging a Braves shot, the Lions set McKay up for the kill. The senior outside hitter rose and swung her right hand forward, connecting with the ball and sending it in Bottineau’s direction.

The ball sped down the court, smacking the floor for the point as the home crowd erupted. McKay found herself in the same position on the following play, although this time she opted for the softer finish.

She tapped the ball as it was up in the air, sending it over the net and directly down for the set win. McKay’s teammates rushed toward her to celebrate. They were now just one set away from the victory.

“We really wanted to push hard and work for every ball,” McKay said. “Winning that third set really helped us get the momentum back onto our side going into the fourth set.”

The Lions went on to win that fourth set, claiming their first victory of the season. Despite falling behind 17-10, Bishop Ryan pushed forward for a 25-23 win to seal the deal.

It’s a set that also could have swung in the Braves’ favor, but with the home crowd cheering the Lions on every step of the way, McKay and company prevailed.

“(The crowd) helped so much,” McKay said. “Them being there was everything. We would have been pushing ourselves on our own without them, so they were really encouraging.”

Sophomore middle blocker Sylvie Kramer finished the night with a team-high 11 kills to go along with six digs. McKay also had a strong overall outing, falling just short of a double double with nine kills and nine digs.

The victory over Bottineau is a much-welcomed result for a Bishop Ryan team that lost a five-set thriller to Nedrose in Tuesday’s season opener.

The Lions are still licking their wounds after losing four seniors in the offseason, and nights like Thursday are ones that head coach Nick Theis and his young group can build on moving forward.

“We’ve been talking about progressively taking little steps, but today we took a big one,” Theis said. “I was really excited to see that we can hang with tough teams. I’ve always told them that the match isn’t over until that last ball drops, so it was fun to see them come together and finish.”

The Lions now enter Tuesday’s matchup at Velva with the taste of victory in their mouths, hungry to keep the momentum going.

“A win like this really help us build our confidence,” McKay said. “Now we’re even more motivated to get better as the season progresses.”

Justin Martinez covers Minot High School and

Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.