Four Winds/Minnewaukan gets first Region 4 volleyball tournament victory, beating Lakota 25-12, 26-24, 26-24.
MINNEWAUKAN — When you think of clutch, volleyball may not be a sport that comes to mind, especially with rally scoring were a point can be obtained simply by an under-hit of a serve. But there are cases when a clutch performance can lift an entire volleyball program to places it has never been.
Exhibit A: Four Winds/Minnewaukan junior outside hitter Latasha Bellile scored four consecutive points (five if you count the attack error that gave up a point) that pushed the Indians to a late second set comeback victory that eventually turned into a 3-0 win over the Lakota Raiders Thursday night in the opening round of the Class B, Region 4 tournament.
“Tasha has a big arm on her and she just a competitor,” said Indians head coach Megan Weisser. “Every time I tell her to make a play, I pretty much get one out of her.
“There’s a fierce competitiveness within her and when it comes out, it’s fun to watch.”
With the Indians trailing by one and the Raiders needing just two points to tie the match at 1-all, Bellile got back-to-back kills that gave the Indians the 24-23 lead. On the next rally, Bellile hit the ball into the net that even the set. She followed that with a kill on the ensuing rally and closed out the set with an ace. The Indians beat Lakota 26-24 that gave Four Winds/Minnewaukan the 2-0 match advantage.
“When I’m playing, I think of my team and when I mess up, I really get down on myself and when I get down, the whole team gets down but the team brings me back up, we all get back together and we just keep playing and work hard,” Bellile said.
The Indians were on the ropes again in the third set as Lakota took a 23-18 lead. But the Indians battled back, outscoring the Raiders 8-1 to win the third and final set 26-24.
“Those last two sets they almost had us,” Bellile began, “Coach brought us up, we brought each other up as a team because that’s what teams do.”
Bellile finished with 17 kills, four aces and 15 digs.
“We got a little bit tight, the nerves set in a little because they began to realize what this game meant tonight and it got close,” Weisser said about those final two set rallies. “They dug deep, they found it within themselves and made the plays that they needed to make. They left it all on the floor tonight.”
It wasn’t just another triumph for the Indians, who won their fourth straight. It gave Four Winds/Minnewaukan its first ever region tournament victory in the program’s history. The Indians advanced to the Region 4 quarterfinals Monday, Nov. 5, against No. 2 seed North Star. The match is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Sports Center in Devils Lake.
“The win is monumental for our program. Their goal was to make the region tournament and it’s really big for both of our communities to have success in other sports, to be all around great athletes,” said Weisser.
Jasmine Lohnes had five kills and 12 digs, Myona Dauphinais had two kills, four aces, 10 digs and 20 assists and Misty Keo had 13 digs for the Indians.
After losing the first set 25-12, the Raiders (4-15) were two points away from extending the match in both the second and third sets but couldn’t close the deal.
“It wasn’t in our cards. Those Four Winds girls worked hard this year, they’ve improved over the years and Megan has brought them to where they need to be,” said Lakota’s head coach Carrie Eidsness. “It was a competitive game but it just wasn’t meant to be for us tonight.”
The Raiders were led by Kylee Baumgarn who had 15 kills, Emily Bina who had six kills, two blocks, three aces and six digs and Nora Johnson who had 10 assists.