Lions roar back
MOHALL – The Bishop Ryan volleyball team weathered a furious comeback by Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood to win the District 12 title in five sets on Tuesday in front of a raucous home crowd at Mohall High School.
Ryan senior Anika Rovig and junior middle blockers Gabbie Bohl and Hannah Stewart combined for 50 kills and 11 blocks in the 25-20, 25-13, 20-25, 24-26, 15-9 victory. The Lions clinched a No. 1 seed in the Region 6 tournament, where they will face District 11 No. 4 seed Rugby in the first round.
Pushed to a fifth set after leading 2-0, the Lions jumped out to a 10-3 advantage in the tiebreaker to establish momentum. Ryan went to its 6-foot-2 options – Bohl and Stewart – frequently to gain the sizable lead.
“We just needed to stay more disciplined,” Bohl said. “We knew we let them come back, but that’s great volleyball they played. We came out, played hard and got the win.”
The Mavericks made it interesting following three consecutive kills by senior middle hitter Alex Mott to pull within 11-7. But that was as close as M-L-S got. Bohl delivered her match-high 22nd kill on championship point to squash the Mavericks’ undefeated district run.
“They just had to find it within themselves and decide that they wanted to do it,” Ryan coach Kaycee Grochow said.
The teams jockeyed for the lead in the opening set, with M-L-S feeding off the home-court advantage. The Mavericks led 17-14 before Ryan found its groove. Two kills and a block by Stewart, coupled with two kills by Bohl and a kill by Rovig, and the Lions had a 21-19 lead. Ryan ended the set on an 11-3 run.
“Bishop Ryan is a tough team,” M-L-S coach Culynn Solloway said. “They have some amazing hitters on their team. We got some good blocks on them, but we didn’t quite get enough.”
The Lions seemed poised to run M-L-S out of its own gym after dominated the second set. Three straight kills by Stewart fueled a 7-2 spurt early in the game before Rovig and Bohl supplied the offense toward the middle for an 18-11 advantage. The trio accounted for the final six points of the set. All three were named to the all-district team along with junior libero Maddie Wald.
“It’s going to motivate us, but we have to get ready for Rugby,” Bohl said. “Take one game at a time and hopefully we survive and advance.”
One set from being swept at home, the Mavericks strung together two hard-fought games to force a fifth-set tiebreaker. M-L-S was able to derail the Lions in the third set. Ryan’s largest run was three unanswered points as the Mavericks never surrendered the lead after grabbing a 9-8 advantage. The Lions tied the frame twice, but M-L-S prolonged the match, tallying nine of the final 13 points.
“It’s all about a team effort,” Mott said. “We brought each other together and were like, ‘We need to get this right now.’ We came together as a team and it really helped.”
Neither team gave an inch in the fourth set. M-L-S junior Callie Carlson matched Bohl kill for kill and the net defense managed to get a hand on several spikes from the junior outside hitters. The Mavericks took a 14-10 lead, but it was quickly erased by a 5-1 run. Ryan held match point, but M-L-S staved off elimination and kills by senior setter Shania Brackenbury and senior outside hitter Sierra Smith forced the decisive tiebreak.
Carlson finished with a team-high 15 kills.
The Mavericks are the No. 2 seed and play TGU – the No. 3 seed from District 11 – in the first round of the region tournament.
“They are going to go into practice even harder now,” Solloway said. “They wanted this so bad. They want to push through to the next round, so they will push harder now I imagine.”
Our Redeemer’s 3, Berthold 0
No. 5-seeded Berthold was thinking upset early in its match against third-seeded Our Redeemer’s Christian School, but the Knights regrouped and advanced to the Region 6 tournament with a 25-23, 25-16, 26-24 victory.
The Knights trailed 10-4 in the opening set, struggling to return Berthold junior middle hitter Madison Erickson’s serves. Erickson had three aces in the first frame.
ORCS inched back into the set with kills by freshman middle hitter Makayla Gartner and three aces by junior outside hitter Gabi Boeckel. Boeckel’s third ace tied the set at 16-all. The Knights took their first lead of the game at 24-23 on Gartner’s fifth kill of the match. Eighth-grade setter Karlee Zablotney ended the set with her second kill.
The Knights claimed the second set without need of a late-game comeback. The Bombers made the third set interesting after ORCS had its first match point at 24-19. Berthold won the next five points to tie the set at 24. The Knights responded with consecutive kills by freshman Morgan Olson and Gartner to end the match. Olson finished with a match-high 13 kills and six aces and Gartner had 12 kills.
“This whole district tournament has really been tough mentally on our girls because they’ve been the underdog,” ORCS coach Kara Nunziato said. “They’ve had nothing to lose. District, that’s pressure on yourself because you want to be one of the four that makes it to regionals and I think it really showed in our girls.”
Senior outside hitter Bethany Limke and junior middle hitter Trisha Howell had eight kills apiece to lead the Bombers.
ORCS will be the No. 3 seed from District 12 and face second-seeded Velva from District 11 in the first round of the Region 6 tournament at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
Des Lacs-Burlington 3, Glenburn 1
Des Lacs-Burlington and Glenburn split the opening two sets before the Lakers won the last two for the 27-25, 22-25, 25-14, 25-14 victory.
The DeGree trio led the way for the Lakers, recording a combined 32 kills. Sophomore Brittany Degree finished with a team-high 14 kills. Senior Courtney and sophomore Megan had nine apiece.
DL-B won the final three points of the first set after a tie at 22. The Lakers jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the second, but the No. 7-seeded Panthers clawed back on two separate occasions to tie the match.
“We knew that Glenburn was going to fight hard coming into the game,” DL-B coach Tarra Froseth said. “We just knew we had to fight a little bit harder to get the win.”
It was all DL-B from there as the DeGrees helped send the Lakers to the region tournament, where they will play District 11 champion Bottineau in the first round.
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.