Ryan volleyball takes four-set road victory over Berthold

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN Bishop Ryan senior setter Grace Candrian (15) tips the ball over the net as Berthold Toni Hamilton (left) attempts to block it. The Lions took a 25-20, 18-25, 25-14, 25-16 victory over the Bombers on Tuesday evening.

BERTHOLD — All the Bishop Ryan Lions needed was a chance to regroup.

After splitting the first two sets of a four-set match against District 12 foe Lewis & Clark/Berthold (10-11, 2-3 District 12) on Tuesday evening, Ryan (16-9, 3-2 District 12) head coach Nick Theis called his team together for a huddle.

The Lions committed some uncharacteristic errors in the second set, which caused the Bombers to seize momentum and take the frame. But Ryan went on to win by set scores of 25-20, 18-25, 25-14, 25-16.

“Knowing the potential (Berthold) has to play, I was hoping to see us come out and play tough right from the get-go,” Theis said. “I felt like we started strong and then had a lull in that second set. We brought that energy back, so that was very nice to see. It was very quiet in the gym at times, and sometimes we don’t bring our volume when the gym is quiet.”

In the third set, the Lions blazed out to an early lead and captured a 25-14 advantage. Ryan did not relinquish the fourth set’s opportunity.

Theis tinkered with the lineup throughout the game, and the adjustments propelled Ryan to victory. Junior Nora Kramer, who usually serves as an outside hitter, played libero on Tuesday night.

Kramer finished with 20 digs and one service ace.

“We’ve been trying a couple things just to see,” Theis said. “Our Redeemer’s and Des Lacs-Burlington, we played tough and we played close. But what’s that thing that maybe can put us over the edge? What can give us another competitive edge is what we’re fighting for.”

A smattering of Bishop Ryan students made the trip to Berthold. Their constant cheers and enthusiasm made the gymnasium sound like the Lions’ Den.

“That was really awesome,” Theis said. “I didn’t know how many of them would come. I know Berthold is close to Minot, but it’s just awesome to see them come, cheer and support the girls. It means a lot to them, and it was fun. When we got excited, they got excited. That just makes it a fun atmosphere.”

Sophomore middle hitter Sydney Upton tallied a match-high 19 kills for Ryan. Senior setter Grace Candrian handed out a match-high 34 assists.

Upton served three aces, while senior defensive specialist Maya Wald added another. According to Theis, Wald recorded a career-high seven kills.

“I’m trying my best to make sure that everybody moves on to the next point if they make a mistake,” said Wald, who serves as a senior captain. “Just trying to keep everybody positive and keep the energy up.”

Senior middle hitter Toni Hamilton led the way for Berthold. Hamilton posted team-highs in kills (13) and blocks (3). Senior setter Hannah Ibach and senior middle hitter Sara Birdsall added three aces apiece for the Bombers.

“From here, we can just keep going up,” Berthold head coach Katelyn Sandy said. “We need to keep building. We need to see all these little things that we’re doing, our mistakes, and learn from them and keep building to become a better team.”

Both teams will take the court again at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Ryan will host Glenburn, while Berthold will travel to Minot to face Our Redeemer’s.

Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.