PREP VOLLEYBALL: Langdon-Munich advances to state title game
MINOT -- Seeing was believing for Langdon-Munich. The Cardinals earned their first championship berth since 2012 in the North Dakota Class B high school volleyball tournament by beating Hankinson
MINOT -- Seeing was believing for Langdon-Munich.
The Cardinals earned their first championship berth since 2012 in the North Dakota Class B high school volleyball tournament by beating Hankinson 3-1 in the semifinals Friday. Langdon-Munich won 22-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21.
Hankinson was one of only two teams to beat Langdon-Munich (40-2-2) this season, the Pirates scoring a 2-0 sweep when the teams met in a tournament in Grafton. In preparing for the semifinal, L-M coach Rich Olson didn’t know if he should show his team a video of that match.
“They beat us pretty bad,’’ Olson said. “I wasn’t sure if it would be a positive or a negative showing the video to the girls. It was one of our poorest sets this year. We were hitting the ball out, the serves out, hitting the antenna. We were all over the place.
“But then I watched it and saw that we made a lot of unforced errors. We decided to show it to them so they could see that if we cleaned up the unforced errors that we could compete with them.’’
The Cardinals weren’t error free Friday. But, other than the one-two Hankinson hitting combination of Elizabeth Asp and Paige Benson, the Langdon-Munich defense more than held its own. The Pirates had 47 kills, all but four of those by Asp (25) and Benson (18).
Langdon-Munich countered with good balance, led by Madi Hart (14 kills), with Jocelyn Dinius adding nine kills, Courtnie Cook seven and Jordyn Worley six.
“It was a match where everyone was contributing, everyone was making plays,’’ Olson said.
Langdon-Munich took control in the third set. The Cardinals built an 18-14 lead. Seven times, the Pirates rallied to within two, only to see Langdon-Munich answer with a point. Hankinson finally cut the lead to 24-23 on a Benson kill, only to see Hart put away the win with a kill in the middle from the outside.
“The girls answered the bell when it was close,’’ Olson said. “We were getting big swings.’’
And, Olson said, “In the first set, we were just getting our serves over the net. We got more aggressive.’’
Serving was a big factor. The Cardinals held a 12-3 advantage in aces. And, Pirates coach Tera Paulson said, her team had 15 service errors.
“Usually we’re a good serving team,’’ said Paulson. “We had 15 service errors; that was huge. With their 12 aces, that’s 27 points. That’s a lot of points to overcome. We’re used to getting 12 to 15 aces ourselves.
“Everything was off a little for us tonight. We haven’t had so many hitting errors since early in the season. And Langdon-Munich is a good team. With their defense, they make you look bad at times.’’