Carlson, Holen lead LaMoure past Grant County

The No. 3-seeded LaMoure volleyball team has talent from its youngest players to its more experienced and that was on display Thursday in the Loboes’ Class B state tournament first-round match against Grant County.

Senior outside hitter Courtney Carlson recorded a match-high 23 kills and eighth-grade outside hitter Anna Holen added 16 as LaMoure defeated the Coyotes in four sets at the Minot State University Dome. The Loboes play Stanley in the semifinals at 6 tonight.

LaMoure found success in the serving game as well, recording 13 aces in the 25-18, 25-15, 26-28, 25-16 victory. Eighth-grade setter Jackie Meiklejohn had as many aces (five) as Grant County. She also added 19 assists and 17 digs.

“Big first win,” LaMoure coach Laurie Good said. “Our goal was to come out and play hard this first match and that’s what they did.”

Tied at 17 in the first set, LaMoure closed the game on an 8-1 run with a mixture of Grant County miscues and kills by Holen and Carlson.

The Coyotes stayed within striking distance again in the second set, but the Loboes used a 7-2 run to grab a 20-12 advantage. Grant County committed six errors late in the game to fall into a two-set hole.

“I think errors caught up to us,” Grant County coach Amy Tarno said. “We had a lot of fight in us during the match, but the errors were the No. 1 thing that held us back.”

Grant County is still looking for its first victory at state after going 0-3 in its first trip in 2011.

Coyotes junior middle blocker Sydney Bentz helped her team avoid a sweep in the third set. Facing match point at 26-25, Bentz tallied consecutive kills to put the Coyotes in front at 27-26. Grant County won the set on the next point.

Carlson, Holen and Meiklejohn picked up the Loboes in the fourth set, combining for seven kills and three aces. Carlson’s first kill of the set gave LaMoure the lead for good at 5-4. The Loboes tallied nine of the next 11 points to build a sizeable advantage.

“That seems to be what we kind of do,” Good said. “We come out and we win those first two and the third we just kind of crumble. But it was good to see them scrape themselves up and finish strong.”

Grant County got as close as 22-16 but a kill and an ace by Carlson, sandwiched between a kill by senior middle blocker Talitha Hirschkorn, closed the match.

The Coyotes play second-seeded Thompson in a consolation match at noon today.