Freije and the Raiders are excited to play for a state tournament berth.

On Tuesday night heading into the third set of the second semifinal match between Lakota-Edmore and North Star, head coach Bonnie Freije and her players were beginning to think that this might be the end of the road.

Little did they know that they were about to embark on a phenomenal, inspired 3-2 comback victory that would propel them into the regional final for an opportunity to qualify for the state tournament.

“It was incredible,” said Freije, who is in her first year as head coach of the Raiders. “I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in something like that before.”

When the team was down 2-0, it began to dawn on the players, particularly the seniors, that this could be the last set they play in their high school careers.

But they weren’t about to let that happen. The Raiders went on to force a crucial fifth set with back to back victories, and in that decisive final frame, they won 15-12 to book their place in the championship game.

“I just told them that whatever they do, they needed to go out and play their hardest,” Freije said.

And they did, and they’ll need to repeat that same brand of intensity Thursday night as they take on Carrington for the Region 4 championship, a team that has enjoyed more than its fair share of success this year.

Freije knows how talented the Cardinals are. In fact, according to her, they’ve been preparing for Carrington all season.

“In our area, you always practice and play out the season in preparation for Carrington, because they’re always a top team,” Freije said. “You always have them in the back of your mind, schools like the North Stars, the Carringtons, the Langdons. Those are the teams you always have in the back of your mind because they’re such good programs.”

Lakota-Edmore will take on the Cardinals Thursday evening after completion of the third-place game between Harvey-Wells County and North Star. That match begins at 6 p.m. at the Devils Lake Sports Center, and the championship match  will get started 20 minutes after completion of the consolation game.