Ronningen's 21 kill, four block effort leads Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich to its fifth straight Region IV title after 3-0 victory over North Star.
Amidst the celebration of winning another Region IV volleyball tournament championship, Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich head coach Rich Olson had high praise for North Star’s sophomore Danielle Hagler.
“Danielle Hagler is tough to stop. She’s a dynamite player and we just didn’t have an answer for her when she got the ball,” Olson said. “We couldn’t really get a good block on her, give her a lot of credit.”
Hagler affected the match early, allowing the Bearcats to hang close with the Cardinals in tightly contested first set. However, the Cardinals had Callie Ronningen, who became the diffuser to North Star’s dynamite which became the Bearcats own crippling TNT.
Ronningen finished with 21 kills, four blocks and six digs as the Cardinals came away with the 3-0 sweep of North Star to capture their fifth straight region title Thursday night from the Sports Center in Devils Lake.
“Callie Ronningen has been a stud player for us for four years and she showed it again tonight. She made a lot of plays; she’s just a smart player,” said Olson. “But it was a total team effort.”
The Bearcats scored three of the match’s first four points with Hagler giving North Star a 2-1 lead which went turned to a two point advantage on the next serve. A Ronningen kill, followed by a Calyn Crockett ace tied the set at 3-all. A second Crockett ace, followed by another Ronningen kill and the Cardinals (35-3-2) led by three. The lead grew to seven but when the Bearcats (15-5) pulled to within three, a Ronningen kill bumped the lead to four which became the margin of victory as the Cardinals won the first set 25-21.
The Cardinals jumped out to an 11-2 advantage in the second set and cruised to the 25-13 win and repeated the dominance in the third set, leading by as many as 13 before closing out North Star with the 25-13 third set win.
“We came out pretty strong but things were dropping on our side. They were putting good placement with the ball,” said Bearcats coach Aubree Page.
The Bearcats, whose lone loss in the region came against the Cardinals 10 days earlier, swept their quarterfinal and semifinal round matches against Harvey-Wells County and Rolla respectively. But again is denied a trip to the North Dakota High School Activities Association Class B volleyball tournament by Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich.
“It’s definitely tough to play against Langdon. They have a great program, they have some really good athletes and they’re great at getting up high and getting over us. They’re just a well rounded team,” Page said.
Hagler had 17 kills and 12 digs and was named to the all-region team. Olivia Reiser had 13 digs and 11 assists and Gracie Miller had 13 digs for North Star.
Lexis Olson had six kills, four aces and seven digs, Morgan Freije had four kills, three blocks and three aces and Crockett finished with four blocks, four aces, 32 assists and six digs for the Cardinals who will find out their seed during the Dakota Bowl on Friday, Nov. 15.
“We know that we’re going to have hitters like Hagler at the state tournament that we’re going to have to contend with and we just have to do what we do. Our personality is that we’re going to be aggressive in a lot of areas, play really good team volleyball and if we do that, we got a chance,” Olson said.
In the consolation game, Benson County, led by Desidy Schwanke's 17 kills, 11 blocks and 38 digs, defeated Rolla in five sets (21-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-19, 15-9). The Wildcats also got nine kills, three aces and 20 digs from Mallorie Sabo and eight kills, two blocks and three digs from Maegan Parent.
The Bulldogs were led by Joslyn Nordmark's 11 kills and 16 digs.
All-Region IV Team:Hannah Haley, New Rockford-Sheyenne Danielle Hagler, North Star Desidy Schwanke, Benson County Callie Ronningen, Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich Lexi Olson, Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich Gracie Miller, North Star Jasmine Riplinger, Harvey-Wells County Kendra Prouty, St. John Latasha Bellile, Four Winds/Minnewaukan Carly Lippert, Dakota Prairie Kyleigh Wilkes, Rolla Morgan Freije, Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich Kaitlynn Scherr, Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich Jasmine Heisler, North Star Grace Neameyer, Rolla Calyn Crockett, Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich McKenna Tofsrud, Benson County
Senior Athlete of the Year: Callie Ronningen, L-E-M
Coach of the Year: Jenna Hudson, Rolla