It’s been an incredible season for Lakota-Edmore Volleyball, but on Thursday night, the Raiders came up just short.
Two days removed from their dramatic 2-0 comeback victory over North Star in the Region 4 semifinal round, Lakota-Edmore was matched up against Carrington in the tournament championship match, the winner of which would represent Region 4 in the state tournament.
Unfortunately for Raider fans, Carrington proved to be too much for Lakota-Edmore to handle as they were defeated by the Cardinals 3-1, effectively ending their state tournament run.
The Lakota-Edmore girls were visably disappointed after the loss, but in looking at the big picture, it truly was an inspiring run from the team, a program which had never made it as far as it had this year.
First-year Lakota-Edmore head coach Bonnie Freije was proud of her girls after the match concluded.
“We came a long way,” Freije said. “In volleyball terms, we made huge strides this season. Before the year started, we could barely string 15 passes together, and now that number is up to 150.
“We’ve never been strong in volleyball,” she added, “and that really creates a better sports atmosphere for small towns. Now, kids that aren’t interested in basketball or other sports can come out for a good volleyball team. It’s a great situation for both our towns.”
Lakota-Edmore now finishes the year second in Region 4, a great accomplishment for a school best known for its basketball heroics.
Shaye Ronnigen led the Raiders with 10 kills Thursday night along with one service ace and 15 digs, the second highest dig total on the team.
Junior Fallyn Freije finished second in the Lakota-Edmore attack with nine kills of her own. Freije also had one service ace, six blocks, three set assists and 14 digs.
Taylor Anderson led the Raiders with 17 digs along with her 11 set assists.
On the other side of the net, Carrington, a school known for its strength in volleyball over the past many seasons, is now finally over the hump and will make the school’s first appearance in the state tournament.
The Cardinals had been to the regional championship game for three consecutive seasons prior to Thursday’s match, and they had lost each one: once to Langdon, another time to Midkota and a third time to Langdon again in 2012.
Now, Carrington Volleyball is finally over the hump and able to reap the rewards of their hard work over the past four seasons.
Kayla Hochhalter led the Cardinals with a match-high 20 kills, following closely by teammates Madison Wendel and Jacey Engelhorn, who had 16 kills each.
Page 2 of 2 - Engelhorn also led Carrington with 18 kills along with one block.
In the third place match, North Star defeated Harvey-Wells County in swift fashion, 3-0, on Thursday night.
Sarah Hagler, who has been a leader for the Bearcats all season, led the team in kills once again with 18. She also had 14 digs, good for second on the team.
Hannah Alto set up a number of Halger’s kills as she registered a team-high 18 assists along with her 12 digs.