There is a mystique surrounding Carrington High School volleyball in recent years, and try as they might, Benson County simply could not shake that aura.
Carrington survived a thrilling four-set match by defeating Benson County 25-16, 29-27, 20-25, 25-23 on Tuesday in the semifinal round of the Region 4 tournament at the Devils Lake Sports Center.
The Cardinals will be making their third straight appearance in the region title match. They will also be looking for school’s first-ever region championship and state tournament berth.
Carrington coach Sharon Boehmer was reluctant to look that far into the future.
“That was a beast of a match to get through,” said Boehmer of Tuesday’s win over the Wildcats. “Benson County is an amazing team and a tough team to beat.”
Boehmer was accurate in that assessment of Tuesday’s opposition.
Benson County had grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the opening set before Carrington managed to claw back to tie the match 11-11. The Cardinals continued that streak by scoring nine of the next 10 points to move in front 20-12 on their way to a 25-16 win in the set when Madison Wendel slammed down a kill to end the set and give her team a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Wildcats had a chance to even the match by taking a 24-21 lead in the second set. But, they were unable to hold off Carrington as Wendel once again provided the necessary point. Her kill attempt hit a Benson County defender and the Wildcats were whistled for a ball handling violation that ended the second set.
The see-saw affair continued in the third set as Benson County grabbed a 10-4 lead before the Cardinals got rolling again. They scored 10 of the next 15 points to pull within 15-14 and tied it moments later at 16-16.
They would not be able to overtake the Wildcats, who won the set when Andrea Jorgenson took a nifty set from Sara Schwanke and slammed down the kill to give Benson County the 25-20 win.
The Wildcats bid to even the match come up short as the Cardinals took the match with a 25-23 win in the fourth set.
“We broke down in too many areas,” Benson County coach Doyle Schwanke said. “I thought we were ready to play ... I should have done a better job of having them prepared.”
Wendel led the Cardinals with 18 kills and shared the team lead in blocks with Nikki Braaten as both standouts recorded five. Braaten and Josey Page both had 19 assists to lead the Cardinals in that department.
Annie Jorgenson had 11 kills to pace the Wildcats and teammate Chelsey Weigler chipped in with 10 kills of her own.
Benson County will take on Rolla in the third-place match on Thursday.
Page 2 of 2 - Then it will be Boehmer and the Cardinals time to put an end to their state tournament drought.
“We need to focus on what has gotten us here and what we have to do to beat Langdon,” Boehmer said.
“This team has its own identity,” she added. “They are not concerned with the past and they are not looking at the future. This is a team that is all about the here and now and they are the type of team that I am certain will not get caught up in the emotions of the situation and will perform well.”
Benson County 16 27 25 23
Carrington 25 29 20 25
Benson County — Kills: Annie Jorgenson 11, Chelsey Weigler 10, Becca Eberle 7. Blocks: Meghan Jorgenson 6. Assists: Sara Schwanke 26. Digs: McKenzie Silliman 33, A. Jorgenson 25. Aces: Lexi Gigstad 3.
Carrington — Kills: Madison Wendel 18, Kayla Hochhalter 17. Blocks: Wendel 5, Nikki Braaten 5. Assists: Josey Page 19, Braaten 19. Digs: Hannah Lipetsky 9, Jacey Engelhorn 6, Hochhalter 5. Aces: Page 3, Breana Barton 2, Wendel 1, Braaten 1.