Bishop Ryan senior setter Maddie Lipp had no idea why play stopped early in the Lions’ volleyball match against Berthold.
Like so many times before, Lipp set up junior outside hitter Hannah Stewart for a kill. Unbeknownst to her until announced over the Bishop Ryan PA system, it was the 1,000th assist of Lipp’s varsity career.
“It’s been three years now,” Lipp said. “I give all the credit to my team – my passers and hitters. I couldn’t get sets without my passers and I couldn’t get assists without my hitters. It’s really awesome, but it’s been a quick three years. That’s for sure.”
Lipp finished with 10 assists in a straight-set victory against the Bombers (17-11-1) in a non-district match Tuesday. She also tallied two aces in the 25-15, 25-17, 25-18 win.
“Maddie is a wonderful girl and I love coaching her,” Ryan coach Kaycee Grochow said. “It’s great to have her on the team. You talk to any coach and they’re going to say they love their setter. Their setter helps run their team and Maddie is just one of those girls I’m so grateful to coach.”
Stewart and junior outside hitter Gabbie Bohl have made Lipp’s job easier throughout their three years together and it seemed fitting that one of the two contributed to her 1,000th assist. The 6-foot-2 duo combined for 20 kills and nine blocks.
The Lions (23-6) used large runs in the first and second sets to pull away from Berthold. Tied 9-9 in the opening set, Ryan tallied 11 of the next 14 points. Senior outside hitter Macy Christianson had back-to-back aces and Bohl recorded a kill and an ace during the run. Stewart accounted for four of the Lions’ final four kills of the set.
Ryan led by two midway through the second game before recording 13 of the next 15 points for a 24-12 advantage. The Bombers scored the next five points before Stewart closed the set with a kill. Senior Anika Rovig recorded four kills and two aces in the set. Rovig – Ryan’s setter with Lipp on the bench – had a team-high 14 assists.
Berthold stuck with Ryan in the third set with strong play by senior outside hitter Bethany Limke and junior middle hitter Madison Erickson. The two combined for six kills and an ace in the final game, but couldn’t find an answer for Stewart and Bohl.
“Their size is a factor, but we didn’t seal the net on our blocking,” Berthold coach Brooke Storro said. “When we did we would get a good block on it, so that’s something we need to focus a little more on. Every time we go up, we need to go up strong and seal the net every time we go up against those tall girls.”
Although the remainder of their season has no bearing on their district seed, the Lions haven’t lost their focus.
“We’re hoping to get as many wins as we can because our goal is to get to the state tournament,” Lipp said. “We just have to prepare as much as we can and work hard every day in practice and play every game like it’s the championship game.”
Limke finished with a team-high 11 kills and 15 digs.
Junior libero Maddie Wald had a match-high 33 digs for the Lions.
Berthold hosts Stanley at 7 p.m. Thursday. Ryan hosts Beulah at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics, the Minot State University men’s club hockey team and the Minot Minotauros. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.