(#3) Langdon/Edmore/Munich rebounds, sweeps Des Lacs-Burlington in consolation semifinals

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

BISMARCK – The (#3) Langdon/Edmore/Munich Cardinals were looking to show a little more sharpness Friday afternoon. After all, a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Thompson Tommies the day previous was not the taste the Cardinals wanted to have in their mouths through the final two days of the 2021 NDHSAA Class B Volleyball State Tournament. There were still two matches to play, starting with the Des Lacs-Burlington Lakers on Nov. 19. 

The Cardinals were somewhat familiar with the Lakers, albeit in small doses. Dating back to the 2020-21 season, the Cardinals played them twice. However, their most recent bout against them (Oct. 2 during the Laker Invite) had to be taken with a grain of salt. Given the nature of pool and tournament play, there was not much time for the Cardinals to fully prepare against them. Additionally, their Friday match in Bismarck was during the postseason, and anything could happen in a postseason match. 

Senior middle hitter Morgan Freije goes for a kill down the middle of the net against Des Las-Burlington.

What did happen, of course, was concise execution on the part of the Cardinals as they went on to sweep the Lakers in three at Bismarck Event Center on Nov. 19. 

With the win, the Cardinals will face the winner between Garrison and Dickinson Trinity for the fifth-place finish in the tournament. The Lakers, meanwhile, will play the loser of that match to determine seventh place. The win additionally gives the Cardinals a 3-0 record against the Lakers dating back to the 2020-21 season (including tournament play). 

Langdon/Edmore/Munich’s crispness on the offensive side started early and often as senior middle hitter Morgan Freije and sophomore setter Jalynn Swanson found enough of a groove to set up plays both on the perimeter and inside portion of the net. 

A 25-15 set one win was quickly reinforced with a 25-19 set two win. Freije finished the match with 25 kills and 12 digs, while Swanson tallied 26 assists. 

“I think it started with the serve-receive,” Langdon/Edmore/Munich head coach Rich Olson said. “They were hurting us a little bit early on with short serves and making us lunge. Once we got used to reading it off their hand, we got into a good passing groove, and once we get into that, our hitters get good opportunities. I thought our hitters and our setter did a good job getting the ball to our hitters and just went out and made plays, but I think the tempo, feel of the game and everything was dictated by good serving on our part.” 

As the Lakers looked to lean on senior middle hitter Emily DeGree, the Cardinals continued to counter with Freije. Then, after the Lakers helped create more scoring opportunities during the third set, the Cardinals countered with a bigger blocking presence up front to maintain awareness of the soft touches the Lakers were sending their way. 

Although the Cardinals only had a touch of time to prepare against Des Lacs-Burlington during the Laker Invite, they recalled several of these strategies just enough to make it count this time around. The Cardinals finished off the Lakers, 25-20, in set three. 

“We remembered some of that,” Olson said. “We had it on video, and we talked to some coaches in their region and talked about their scouting reports on how to handle them as a team, their strengths and things like that. There was a little more time to prepare this time, and I thought our girls did a good job executing the game plan.” 

The Cardinals will officially take to the court for the fifth-place match on Nov. 20 at 3:00 p.m. CT.