Pushed to the limit, Bearcats punch ticket to state volleyball
By Harry Lipsiea
In sports, there are those contests when you wish that both teams could win. That was the case Thursday evening in the Devils Lake Sports Center.
The top seed North Star and second seed Langdon-Munich battled back-and-forth in a match that became an instant classic.
In the end, the Bearcats had just a little more firepower earning a five-set victory by scores of 25-17, 26-28, 28-26, 23-25 and 15-9.
While North Star was a heavy favorite for many, the performance of Langdon-Munich was not a surprise to the Bearcats.
“This is exactly what we expected,” Marla Hagler, North Star head coach, told the Journal after the match. “They are a great team and there was never a doubt that this was going to be an extremely tough match. I knew it was going to be a hard-fought battle to the very end.”
The key to victory was North Star’s performance in the opening and final sets of the night as the squad controlled the action in both.
Using the serving of Kristin Murchie and Faith Krom, the Bearcats led throughout the first set of the night. A pair of kills by Sarah Hagler and Macey Kvilvang helped give North Star a 25-17 victory.
Starting in the second set, however, the action was back-and-forth and extremely tight. Excellent defense by Langdon-Munich gave the squad an early lead.
North Star battled back behind Hagler, but the Cardinals still led 25-24. For the next six volleys, North Star would kill a game-closing opportunity for Langdon-Munich. Ultimately, however, a Kaylee Anderson play at the net gave the Cardinals a 28-26 win.
The third set was almost a carbon copy as Langdon-Munich used stiff defense and impressive quickness to battle the firepower and passing of North Star. It made for another battle.
Langdon took an early advantage thanks to aces by Madison Hart. The Bearcats kept going forward. The team won the set 28-26 on a kill by Hagler with an assist by Krom.
The Bearcats had momentum on their side and it showed early on as kills by Kvilvang gave the team a 14-6 advantage.
Once again, the Cardinals showed plenty of heart and fight by coming back. Kills by Jocelyn Dinius and Hart tied up the match at 21.
Langdon-Munich sealed the deal with a a nice play by Jordyn Worley to give the squad a 25-23 win to force a fifth and final set.
“They just kept battling,” coach Hagler complimented of Langdon-Munich. “There was no lead that was comfortable. It didn’t matter what the score was, they just kept moving forward.”
North Star showed the ability to close the match with an impressive fifth set. Nice defense by Krom and Halverson helped the team take a 7-1 lead.
Once again Langdon-Munich creeped back and made the set competitive thanks to the net work of Hart and Anderson.
In the end, back-to-back Hagler and Kvilvang kills gave the Bearcats a 28-26 victory.
“It was an amazing win,” coach Hagler pointed out. “I am so proud of every single player. Each of them did such an amazing job. If the girls made a mistake, they just kept playing and kept their heads up.”
North Star was led by Hagler with 37 kills and four blocks. Kvilvang had 25 kills and three blocks. Peyton Halverson had two kills while Krom had one and Kellie Huschle had a kill and a block. Murchie had four aces.
“Our middle hitters were dynamic tonight” Marla Hagler pointed out. “I thought we did a good job receiving their serve and the passing was very strong. It was just an all-around great effort.”
Langdon-Munich was led by Hart with 23 kills and eight aces. Jocelyn Dinius and Kaylee Anderson finished with 10 kills each.
North Star advances to the State Class B tournament in Minot. The matchups and seedings for the tournament will be announced early next week.