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AREA GAMES TO WATCH: After winning at DL-B, Thompson faces District 3 showdown

Six of the eight teams that played in the 2012 North Dakota Class B state volleyball tournament were in the field over the weekend in the annual Des Lacs-Burlington tournament.

Thompson Tommies logo

Six of the eight teams that played in the 2012 North Dakota Class B state volleyball tournament were in the field over the weekend in the annual Des Lacs-Burlington tournament.

Thompson was not one of those six. At the end of the tournament, however, it was Thompson that finished on top.

The Tommies went 7-0 in the prestigious two-day Laker Invitational tournament, which annually draws most of the top Class B teams from across the state. Along the way to the title, Thompson beat 2012 state tournament participants Ray, Minot Our Redeemer's and, in the championship, Langdon by a narrow 25-23, 26-24 margin.

"That (title) shows that we can be competitive with the best teams in the state," Thompson coach Lisa Strand said. "And we are senior-loaded, with a lot of experience."

The tournament title, however, is no more important than Thursday's regular-season match against Hatton-Northwood in Northwood. That will be a matchup of two teams that, entering the week, are the only unbeatens left in District 3 play. Both are 6-0 in district points.

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"Hatton-Northwood is a quality team," Strand said. "That will be a big measuring stick for us."

The Tommies haven't been to a state volleyball tournament since 2008. But Thompson has a roster full of state tournament-tested athletes.

Thompson starts McKenna DeMoe, Karleigh Weber, Shannon Galegher, Johanna Loyland, Bethany Ivesdal, Beka Stoe and Shaice Marx. Rotation regulars off the bench are Becca Cole, Laura Benoit and Averi Olson.

Almost all of those 10 were key contributors on one or more of the Tommies teams that finished third in the state basketball tournament, sixth in the state softball tournament and 10th in the state track meet in the 2012-13 school year.

"It's a talented group," Strand said. "Overall, it's one of the more athletic groups I've coached. We have good hitters and, over the weekend, our back-row play was phenomenal. And they're very competitive."

How all that translates against Hatton-Northwood remains to be seen. The Thunder have a one-two punch at the net in middle hitters Jordan Johnson and Samantha Janda. And sisters Jeni, Kati and Miki Lloyd lead the defense and playmaking.

"We have a good rivalry with Hatton-Northwood in volleyball and basketball," Strand said. "Johnson and Janda are top-notch hitters. And the Lloyd sisters are all over the place. They're very instinctive players."

Other area games to watch this week include:

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Football

• Thompson (4-2) at Cavalier (5-0), Friday: Explosive running back Ty Myron leads a Tommies team that will try to stop a Cavalier team that has outscored opponents 306-0. With winless Four Winds the only team left on Cavalier's schedule after this game, Thompson appears to be the only one standing between Cavalier and an undefeated regular season.

• Fertile-Beltrami (4-2) at Red Lake County (5-1), Friday in Red Lake Falls: Fertile-Beltrami is on a three-game winning streak in which it has allowed a total of only six points. That defense will be tested by Section 8A opponent Red Lake County's powerful running game, led by Jacob Magnell and Sean Harris. The Falcons have a big-play back of their own in Mitchell Mosher.

• Crookston (1-5) at Thief River Falls (4-2), Friday: One of the area's top rivalries resumes. The challenge for Crookston will be to slow down the Prowlers' diverse offense led by the passing of Zeb Nelson and a deep backfield led by Ian Lund.

Volleyball

• North Star at Langdon, Tuesday: The District 8 regular-season title may be on the line. Langdon is the frontrunner for the No. 1 seed with a win. North Star becomes the team to beat with a win. The Bearcats still have Rolla, another District 8 power, left on their schedule.

DeVillers reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1128; or send e-mail to gdevillers@gfherald.com .

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