Mavericks maul Panthers
MINOT – Fate did not favor District 11 volleyball Monday.
The Rugby High School volleyball team suffered the same defeat as all other opponents of District 12 in the opening round of the Region 6 tournament at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
The Panthers, District 11 No. 1 seed, were one of four straight-set losers. RHS fell 3-0 to No. 4 seed Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood, ending a historic run that included the program’s first district title.
“We just didn’t have it in us tonight,” RHS coach Jessica Fritz said. “We played great volleyball all season. It’s just like we weren’t expecting them to serve as well as they did.”
The Mavericks dominated the contest as RHS (24-9) failed to finish any of the three sets within single digits. MLS won 25-15, 25-13 and 25-13.
The teams faced off earlier in weekend tournaments and one regular season meeting, which the Panther won 3-2. MLS (27-10) was ready and left no questions about the game plan. Senior Callie Carlson finished with a match-high 14 kills as classmate Emily Abernathy confidently commanded the offense from the setter position. Abernathy tallied 32 assists. Senior Morgan Depute added 13 kills and six assists.
“We did tweak a couple thing defensively,” MLS coach Jaime Adams said of the difference between regular season meetings. “We weren’t getting much out of the right-side block, so we pulled Callie and our setter Morgan back and did better.”
RHS had no answer for the MLS efficiency and Carlson hammered away. Questionable first hits were routinely found by Depute and set for Carlson, who Adams hopes to see walk on at University of North Dakota.
“It would be great for UND,” Adams said. “I’ll be contacting their coach.”
RHS did its best to rally after exciting points, usually coming on long rallies that favored the shorter Panthers.
“I think they just came to play,” RHS senior Darby Deckert said. “We were wound up and kind of nervous. They played well. They’re a good team.”
The Mavericks’ big three had nine aces, which proved fatal as MLS capped many rallies early in the point with quick, powerful kills.
“Their serving just seemed a lot stronger tonight and we just couldn’t match them,” Fritz said. “If anything, our seniors taught the younger girls something (this year). You have to show up to play all the time.”
Said Deckert: “All the seniors – even all of the team – we’re good workers. It may not have shown tonight, but that’s life. These group of (younger) girls will go on to do way better.”
The Mavericks fell 3-1 to Des Lacs-Burlington in semifinal play. The Lakers advanced to Thursday’s title game against Our Redeemer’s, which beat Bishop Ryan 3-0.
Through six tournament matches, the losing teams managed to win just one set.
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