With the matches of perennial powers Kenmare, Bottineau and Our Redeemer’s done for the day, the Region 6 tournament at the Minot Municipal Auditorium was largely vacated going into the final action of Monday night (Nov. 8).
Those who stayed were treated to a barnburner.
Sophomore Alex Mott had a kill and a block to top off Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood’s thrilling 21-25, 26-24, 25-14, 22-25, 16-14 win over Rugby to advance into today’s semifinals.
M-L-S plays defending region champion Kenmare 25 minutes after the conclusion of Our Redeemer’s 6 p.m. match against Bottineau.
The Mavericks were up against match point twice late in the fifth game, but back-to-back kills from freshman Callie Carlson and Mott put M-L-S up 15-14. On the ensuing play, Mott successfully put up a block on the right side, sending the Mavericks into hysterics.
“Definitely, it was nerve-racking,” Mott said. “My stomach was turning. It was intense.
“We just kept it together, kept fighting and we came out with the win.”
M-L-S coach Susan Thompson said that’s exactly the attitude she’s tried to instill.
“They’re fighters; they don’t quit,” Thompson said. “That’s one thing we’ve improved on.”
Carlson had a team-high seven kills, and Lexi Bahl added 23 assists and five aces for the Mavericks, who had to rally after Rugby dominated most of the first game.
M-L-S responded and held a 24-20 advantage in the second game when the Panthers fired back, though it wasn’t enough as Lexi Bahl pounded down the final kill to tie the match.
Rugby found itself trailing 2-1 after the Mavericks rolled in the third game, getting out to a 14-0 lead and never looking back. But the resilient Panthers found their stride, rallying to win from an early deficit in game 4 thanks to a pair of late kills from Aubrey Hovland. Rugby’s stats were not available.
Both teams traded points throughout the fifth game and a service error gave Rugby a 14-13 advantage, setting up the Mavericks’ comeback.
Thompson said she was pleased with the showing of the final two teams for the fans who chose to stay.
“We like going five and giving everyone their money’s worth,” Thompson said. “We’ve played so many five-set matches. We’re used to playing five.”
The Raiders stayed with Kenmare early in the third game, trailing 8-6 at one point. However, the Honkers reeled off 11 consecutive points to put the match away.
“I think the girls played well,” said Rugby Coach Jessica Fritz. “We had a lot of hitting errors. We tried to play too safe to win, but it didn’t work for us.”
She went on to say that when Alli Volk hurt her ankle and had to be out of the game for a few minutes, Senior Kenzie Cameron kept the team motivated.
“Kenzie did a phenomenal job,” said Coach Fritz.
“We are going to miss that senior leadership next year,” she added.
(The final four paragraphs were added by Terri Kelly Barta from a telephone interview with Rugby Coach Fritz.)