Settling in at setter
LANGDON, N.D.—Early in her volleyball career, Rachel Hill for a time was a hitter wannabe.
"When I was an eighth-grader, I wanted to be an outside hitter,'' Hill said. "I liked hitting. But our coach put me at outside and I didn't do very well.
"I reached a point the next year where I realized I was going to be a setter the rest of my life. And as that season went along, I decided I didn't want to play anywhere else.''
Hill has found a home at setter. She's put up some of the best numbers at the position in the history of the tradition-rich Langdon-Edmore-Munich high school program. She joined Christy Schauer this season as the only Cardinals player to reach 3,000 career assists. Hill has been named Region 4 senior player of the year.
And, for the third time in her three seasons as a starter, Hill is the quarterback of a Cardinals team that won a Region 4 title and qualified for the Class B state tournament. Second-seeded Langdon-E-M plays Watford City in a 1 p.m. quarterfinal match at the Fargodome on Thursday.
Cardinals coach Rich Olson said Hill, despite standing only 5-foot-5, would have been an effective hitter because of her jumping ability and strong swing.
"But she's embraced the setting position,'' Olson said. "She's put in a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, into it. I believe she's one of the best setters in the state.
"She's been a huge part of our success. She's been consistent, something hitters need. She's great working with them. She's a playmaker. And she's had some darn good hitters to set.''
The hitting corps is deep.
Sophomore Callie Ronningen with 419 kills and senior Jordyn Worley with 300 lead L-E-M. Rounding out the hitting regulars are Calyn Crockett (159), Morgan Freije (118) and Madi Pritchard (117). Hill has 947 assists this season.
"Jordyn and Callie get more swings than the others,'' Olson said. "Jordyn is having her best season; she's been a real shot maker. And Callie is one of the best hitters in the state. But we rely on all five girls to get kills.
"I think we're a little more balanced than we've been in the past.''
With Hill running the offense, the Cardinals finished second at state in her sophomore season and third last season.
"I don't think I would have the success I have had if I was hitting instead of setting,'' she said.
"The hitters definitely get the glory. But they give me credit. After a kill, they'll thank me for a good set.''
Langdon-Edmore-Munich takes a 39-3 record to the state tournament. All three losses have been at the hands of LaMoure-L-M, the two-time defending Class B state champion.
at a glance
Coach: Rich Olson.
Record: 39-3-0, Region 4 champion.
State tournament opener: The Cardinals, seeded second, play unseeded Watford City at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Class B state tournament quarterfinals at the Fargodome.
Cardinals' regular rotation (kills-blocks-service aces-digs): Sr. S Rachel Hill 72-39-72-238 (947 assists), sr. H Jordyn Worley 300-16-139-441, soph. H Calyn Crockett 159-40-74-149, soph. H Callie Ronningen 419-63-84-347, sr. L Arynn Crockett 17-2-48-380, jr. H Madi Pritchard 117-24-62-245, 8th-grade H Morgan Freije 118-25-1-57, sr. DS Kellie Hetler 0-0-0-119.