Top seeded Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich open Region 4 volleyball tournament with a sweep over Dakota Prairie 25-8, 25-9, 25-11.
Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich head volleyball coach Rich Olson said that he wants his team to dictate its game and in volleyball, that means controlling the serve.
L-E-M got 26 aces as a team, 14 by sophomore Lexis Olson and the Cardinals advanced to the Class B, Region 4 semifinals after beating Dakota Prairie 3-0 in the first quarterfinals match Monday from the Sports Center in Devils Lake.
“I thought we set the tempo with our serve right off the get-go. We served pretty well and that’s the big key for us to be able to control whether they’re in a system, not a system and I thought we did a pretty good job there,” Rich Olson said.
Lexis Olson’s aces came in bunches, especially in the third set when Dakota Prairie was close to extending the match. Maintaining a three point advantage, Olson got an ace to put the Cardinals lead at 12-8. She continued as server across the next 10 points, getting four straight aces during that stretch that turned a three point lead into an 11 point margin.
“We knew coming in that they are a very aggressive serving team and very skilled so we were working on passing and doing the best that we can but you have to go out there and complete it,” said Knights head coach Kayla Danielson. “They are a really tough team with the serve.
“We did the best we could but obviously it paid off for them tonight.”
The Cardinals won the first two sets by a combined 50-17 (25-8, 25-9) score but the third set became a nip-and-tuck affair in the early going. An ace by Courtney Stein gave the Knights a 3-2 lead, their first of the match since the opening point of the match. A kill by Shaye Frederick tied the match at 4-all and the Knights grabbed the lead again at 5-4. A kill by Carly Lippert pulled the Knights to within one at 9-8 but they wouldn’t get any closer.
Lippert had three kills and three assists, Paige Haakenson had two kills and Stein finished with three aces for the Knights.
“It’s been a good season. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs as a team but I feel like our girls made a lot of tremendous improvements throughout the year and I’m proud of them,” said Danielson.
Callie Ronningen had 18 kills and six digs, Morgan Freije had seven kills, five aces and four digs, Madison Pritchard had four aces, 24 assists and four digs and Olson also added 13 digs to lead the Cardinals who will face Rolla tonight at 6 p.m. in the first semifinal match of the night.
Chris Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ