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Knights reign victorious over Lakers again

Ciara Parizek/MDN The Our Redeemer's Knights gather and collapse on the court after their regional tournament victory against Des Lacs-Burlington on Saturday afternoon.

The regional tournament championship match between Our Redeemer’s and Des Lacs-Burlington was extremely close the entire game. Both teams were equally matched, but one eventually had to come out on top. The Knights took the game 3-2, final set scores coming to 16-25, 25-19, 17-25, 26-24 and 15-7.

The DLB fans on the west side of the gym were decked out in red, some holding plastic pom-poms and wearing red, white and blue tutus. Even their masks were red to match and support their team.

On the east side of the gym, the ORCS fans were in blue. One little girl was running at the south edge, holding cardboard tubes that had blue, white and black streamers attached to them.

There was almost never a silent moment. Fans on both sides were screaming and hollering to encourage the players and express their excitement when points were scored.

When the Knights scored the final point, the players on the court collapsed and those on the sidelines jumped from their chairs and met the others in a circle. Not a single girl on that team had a dry eye between them, happy they gained the title of Region Six Champions and moving on to the state championship in Fargo.

“It’s been a fight this year with everything we’ve had to deal with this year, so to win like this is amazing,” libero Kendal Braun said with a lump in her throat.

ORCS lost two main hitters to torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs). One was before the season started and the other was during their very first game. One was a junior and the other was a senior.

Braun mentioned that she and the rest of her teammates really wanted to win for those who were out for the season, and they did just that.

“They’ve kind of been our inspiration from the start of the season,” ORCS head coach Kara Nunziato said of the injured players. “We knew that we had big shoes to fill with those who have graduated, but with them not on the floor, we had to really work hard and not take a game for granted.”

Nunziato said that she knew it was going to be a battle to play against DLB again.

“DLB is a very talented team, and that’s obvious in terms of how well they performed all season,” she explained. “This afternoon, I think our defense was really our unsung hero.”

There was a lot going on during the game and the girls were moving around all over the place, making sure to block every chance they got and keep the back row on their toes to defend against what was thrown at them. Momentum was a key to the victory, alongside the defense that allowed them to score the points to win.

“One thing to know is this team’s got grit and they’ll never give up,” the coach stated with utmost certainty. “When they’re down 11-1, a lot of teams could fold and just hand it over to (the opponent), but they got back to work. They leaned on each other and played consistently well today.”

As of Saturday evening and according to the North Dakota High School Activities Association website, the Knights will play in the state tournament against Linton/HMB on Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Fargodome.

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