Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich heads to Minot after beating North Star 23-25, 25-19, 25-11, 25-19 for the Region 4 volleyball tournament championship.
Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich volleyball found itself in a situation Thursday night that it has seen only twice before all season long — looking up from a set hole. Shrugging the dirt off their shoulders, the Cardinals got back to business.
L-E-M won three straight sets after losing the opening one to beat North Star 3-1 to win the Class B, Region 4 tournament championship from the Sports Center in Devils Lake. The Cardinals advance to next week’s North Dakota High School Athletic Association state tournament in Minot.
“North Star is good,” said Cardinals head coach Rich Olson. “They defend and dig as good as anybody out there. So they’re a tough matchup for anybody.
“So yeah. We came out slow and had some unforced errors early on and kind of looked a little tight. And I thought, this isn’t the team that we weren’t hoping would show up today but that’s why you play a best out of five, you hope that you can get your rhythm going and get your confidence built up and make a few plays.”
The Bearcats led nearly from start to finish in set No. 1, going up 4-1 but L-E-M eventually tied the score at 9-all after a kill by all-region player Lexis Olson. But up one, the Bearcats went on a 3-0 run, capped off by a kill by all-region selection Danielle Hagler, that gave them a 15-11 cushion. Down 20-15, the Cardinals trimmed North Star’s advantage to one, 21-20, and then tied the score at 23 after another Olson kill but the Bearcats scored the final two points to win the set 25-23.
“I told them to find the target and then it’s all about you and the ball. … We just needed to go out and make plays. It (the set) is over with, there’s nothing you can do about it. They made more plays than we did and they deserved to win that one,” Rich Olson said.
With the score tied at 3 in the second set, the Cardinals (26-2) went on a 4-0 run that soon became a 10-5 advantage. The Cardinals carried that momentum to a 25-19 set victory to tie the match at 1-all.
North Star opened the third set scoring the first point, but the Cardinals took a 6-2 lead. After an ace by Madison Peters, the Bearcats trailed by two but never got closer as the Cardinals built a 10-point lead and cruised to the 25-11 set win and a 2-1 match advantage.
L-E-M led from opening serve to final point in the fourth set, closing out the match with the 25-19 win.
“I don’t think we completely gave up. I think we fought hard throughout,” said North Star head coach Aubree Page. “Langdon is just a good team. They have good servers, great hitters and great blockers so they came out on top.
Lexis Olson finished with 11 kills, three blocks, three aces and 26 digs, Callie Ronningen had 24 kills, four blocks, two aces and 24 digs and Madison Pritchard had 47 assists for L-E-M which will find out their opening match opponent Friday morning after a seeding process during a live broadcast set for 11:30 a.m.
“It was a total team effort. Everybody made plays even though I think I got a few more gray hairs because of it,” said Rich Olson with a smile.
Hagler finished with 26 kills and two blocks and Peters had 25 assists to lead North Star, which finished the season at 15-4-1.
2018 All-Region 4 Team
Maya Halverson (North Star); Callie Ronningen (Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich); Madison Pritchard (Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich); Danielle Hagler (North Star); Hannah Haley (New Rockford-Sheyenne); Carly Lippert (Dakota Prairie); Latasha Bellile (Four Winds/Minnewaukan); Megan Thompson (Harvey-Wells County); Kylee Baumgarn (Lakota); Carli Lies (New Rockford-Sheyenne); Kyleigh Wilkes (Rolla); Camee Wangler (Benson County); Lexis Olson (Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich); Jasmine Heisler (North Star); Kendra Prouty (St. John).
Senior Athlete of the Year: Madison Pritchard (Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich)
Coach of the Year: Megan Weisser (Four Winds/Minnewaukan)