Langdon/Edmore/Munich perseveres through adversity to sweep Benson County
LEEDS – While their record stated otherwise, Langdon/Edmore/Munich had a problem on their hands.
Although they came out of their Sep. 18 triangular with Central Cass and Carrington with two wins, the Cardinals lost one of their premier middle hitters in Cora Badding to an ACL injury.
And so, the Cardinals were forced to go on the road and face Benson County with only one post-injury practice under their belt.
Even still, Langdon/Edmore/Munich found enough of a spark to overcome Benson County Tuesday evening.
With the win, Langdon/Edmore/Munich (9-0) improves their record to 11-0 against Benson County (5-2-1), dating back to the 2016-17 season. All 11 matches have ended in sweeps. Benson County’s two-match win streak dating back to Sep. 14 (@ Four Winds/Minnewaukan), meanwhile, was snapped.
“You look at our dilemma on Saturday…we lost an all-state caliber middle in warm-ups,” Langdon/Edmore/Munich head coach Rich Olson said after the match. “You take a six-foot, top-five hitter in the state out of your lineup, all of a sudden, you have some adjustments you have to make. But, I am really proud of the girls and how they played with character and a lot of heart.”
After winning seven of their first nine set one rallies Tuesday evening, it looked to be business as usual for the Cardinals. However, a collection of miscommunication woes, coupled with a slew of errors, gave Benson County an avenue to claw their way back into the set. After a back-and-forth affair late into the set, the Cardinals were able to hold on just enough to pick up the hard-fought 28-26 set one win.
After a more convincing 25-18 set two win, Langdon/Edmore/Munich once again fell victim to miscommunication issues during set three. However, senior middle hitter Morgan Freije was able to find enough accuracy in the spike to give the Cardinals five of the final six rally wins and the 25-16 set three clinch. Freije finished the game with 20 kills.
“After losing Cora, we showed a lot of grit and a lot of teamwork,” Freije said after the match. “That is important going into any game, no matter who we play. Not to play down to a level our opponent is, and just stay up and keep pushing through, doing what we know-how, and making plays like we do. It is really important to stay positive and stay gritty throughout the whole thing.”
To Benson County head coach Bridget Geller, it all came down to the team’s slow start. Although her team was able to capitalize on several of Langdon/Edmore/Munich’s miscues, a lack of a strong start out of the gate prevented her team from doing more damage.
“We fought hard,” Geller said. “We came out slow for all three sets and just never got back into it. In the first set, we really battled hard and showed them that we do not give up, and we do fight. The second set, same thing. We gave ourselves close to a 10-point lull there, and we cannot do that. If we came out with more intensity at the start of the game, it would have been a lot closer with a much better outcome.”
Moving forward, the Cardinals will have to not only maintain momentum but continue to adapt on the fly as they work without Badding in the lineup.
In Olson’s mind, his team can still make enough adjustments to create a ton of noise for the stretch run.
“I still think we are a very dangerous team,” Olson said. “We have a lot of good talented players on our team. The injury aside, I think we are going to be a tough out. We are just going to battle and keep getting better. I think it is all about, from this point on, how we can improve. It is still very early in the season. We still have a couple of very big tournaments. We have a lot of regional and non-regional matches to play. We have a lot of time to evolve and figure out what our style of play is going to be moving forward. I am really excited for the opportunity for our team to be one of the toughest teams around.”
Langdon/Edmore/Munich will next host Dunseith at Langdon Area High School on Sep. 23. Benson County will take to the road for a meeting against St. John on Sep. 23.