Top-seeded Loboes start strong, earning victory in Class B volleyball quarterfinals
FARGO — LaMoure-Litchville-Marion came out in attack mode Thursday night at the Fargodome and that translated into success.
The top-seeded Loboes got 19 kills from senior hitter Anna Holen to spark a 25-16, 25-16, 25-12 victory against Central Cass in the North Dakota Class B state quarterfinals on Nov. 16.
"We definitely wanted to come out with a bang so we tried to come out with as much intensity as we could," Holen said. "When we play intense, things click for us. It was just about intensity."
The two-time defending state champions, LaMoure-Litchville-Marion (42-1) advanced to Friday's semifinals. The Squirrels (29-12) are set to play in the consolation semfininals.
"They kind of took control and we tried to get it back, but they're really good," said Central Cass head coach Nikki Nelson.
Central Cass had its best chance to get back into the match in the second set. The Squirrels took a 12-11 lead after an L-M-M service error. The Loboes, however, answered with eight consecutive points forge back into the lead. Sophomore hitter Alyssa Ragan had three kills during that stretch to help give L-M-M a 19-12 lead. The Loboes also scored the final five points in Set 2 to earn a 25-16 win.
L-M-M transferred that momentum into the third set, scoring eight of the first 11 points. The Loboes later scored seven points in a row to take a 20-9 lead, en route to a 25-12 set win to close out the match.
"Their chemistry the second half of the season has just been spot on and they have goals in mind," said L-M-M head coach Laurie good. "Central Cass is a great team. We knew we had to stay on our toes and just go in and play great defense and stay calm."
The Loboes finished with 51 digs with senior hitter Kindra Hamlin leading the defensive charge with 13 digs. Sophomore hitter Ellie Holen had 12 digs, while Anna Holen added nine.
L-M-M is one step closer to becoming the first Class B team to win three state championships in a row. The North Dakota High School Activities Association started sponsoring the Class B tournament in 1989.
"It's always on the backburner," Anna Holen said. "We come for a reason, we want to get that state championship again. As for the whole three-peat, we don't look at that. We try to take one match at a time."
Senior hitter Carlie Kieffer paced the Squirrels with 10 kills and four aces. Junior setter Payton Richter added 23 assists.
"I know that they're disappointed, I'm disappointed," Nelson said of her team. "But it is what it is. You can't change it so the best thing you can do is move forward."
CENTRAL CASS (kills-blocks-aces): Grommesh 1-0-0 (9 digs), McKinnon 3-0-0, Kieffer 10-0-4, Richter 0-0-0 (23 assists), Sweep 6-0-0, Pyle 5-0-1.
LLM: E. Holen 5-1-0, A. Holen 19-1-0, Mart 0-0-0, Hebl 0-0-0, Podoll 3-0-0, Ragan 4-2-0, Hamlin 3-0-3 (13 digs), Meiklejohn 1-0-1 (31 assists).