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Lady Panthers fall to Knights in regional

By Staff | Nov 9, 2018

Lori Gronvold for the Tribune Anni Stier (left) goes up for the spike Tuesday at the Minot Municpal Auditorium.

Two late evenings and nine physical sets at Minot Municipal Auditorium left the Rugby High varsity volleyball squad bruised, battered and knocked out of the competition in the final round Tuesday, but Wednesday, they looked forward to more.

The team had set up their net and dressed for practice before coach Jessica Fritz got to the Rugby High gym after school. “Gee, usually they’re not ready to go this early,” she said.

Outside hitter Maria Blessum favored her left shoulder as she practiced one-armed serving. Her injury, she said, “happened right away in the first set when I dove for the ball last night.

“I went to the doctor, and they took an MRI,” she continued. “Nothing’s broken.”

With a determined expression on her face, she added, “I’m playing tomorrow night, no matter what.”

Although Rugby’s Panthers survived Monday night’s 4-set Region 6 Semifinals game against the Panthers of Glenburn High School, they lost in a heartbreaking fifth set of a grueling match against Our Redeemer’s Christian School on a snowy Tuesday evening.

However, the girls prepared for their Thursday consolation game against Des Lacs-Burlington High with the same competitive attitude they’d brought to every game in their 2018 season.

“They know that they still have one game left and we’ve got to go out with a win, and that’ll make everything better. It was a tough loss, but they’ve just got to go in and enjoy it,” Fritz said.

“DLB they know is going to be a tough team,” Fritz said of Thursday’s game. “We kind of knew that going into regionals, no matter what, that we’d face them. But if we just go out there and play, we’ll be okay. It will be a great game; we’ll try to be positive. It’ll be a bittersweet for both teams, though, and that’ll be the hardest part.”

Fritz described Maria Blessum as “a very strong player very strong emotionally; very determined.

“This season has been amazing, and they have nothing to hang their heads about,” Fritz added.

After a slow start Monday night that had Glenburn’s Panthers winning 25-22 over Rugby, RHS seemed to regain their composure, defeating Glenburn 25-13, 25-14 and 25-17 in the next 3 sets.

Although RHS began their Tuesday evening against Our Redeemer’s Knights with a 28-26 win in the tough first set, a crushing 16-25 loss and a 23-25 loss followed. A 25-20 win in the fourth set gave Rugby fans hope, but the Panthers’ 7-point loss in the tie-breaking round advanced Our Redeemers’ to the final round.

Monday night’s game against Glenburn resulted in 21 kills for Maria Blessum; 12 for Brooke Blessum, and 8 for Anni Stier. Sarah Blessum had 39 assists, while Brianna Leier and Kelly Swanson each logged 2 aces. Brooke Blessum and Karsyn Hager each scored 2 blocks, and digs went to Maria Blessum with 5, Jordan Senger with 4, and Stier with 4.

Glenburn kills went to Sierra Hansen with 14; McKenna Rolland with 14, and Nadia Post with 1. Assists went to Dyanne Derr with 16 and Baylee Bachmeier with 8. Aces went to Jackie Ostlund and Post with 2 each, and Derr and Hansen each had 1. Rolland scored 3 blocks, and Hansen scored 2. Digs went to Hansen, with 14, Ostlund and Derr with 9, and Rolland with 7.

Maria Blessum earned 21 kills in Tuesday’s game against Our Redeemer’s, while Stier earned 8. Hager had 4 kills, and Brooke Blessum earned 2. Assists went to Sarah Blessum with 39, and Brooke Blessum with 2. Aces went to Swanson with 2, and Leier, Stier, and Maria Blessum each had 1 ace as well. Blocks went to Hager with 2, while Maria and Brooke Blessum each had 1. Maria Blessum logged 10 digs; Senger 8, and Stier 5.

Our Redeemer’s kills went to Cheyenne Lang with 17; Annie Folden with 12; Sydney Popinga with 5 and Eden Olson with 5. Assists went to Eden Olson with 35, and Folden with 4. Aces went to Folden and Tessa Olson with 3, while Lang and Eden Olson each scored 1. Blocks went to Makiah Frederick and Folden with 3 each, and Land with 1. Digs went to Tessa Olson with 44; Eden Olson, 15; Tea Boeckel with 10, and Folden with 8.

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