Red River beats Grand Forks Central in four sets

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Red River's Kaylee Lancaster lines up her serve during Tuesday's crosstown rivalry volleyball match against Grand Forks Central. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

After squandering a big lead, a short memory was best for Grand Forks Red River on Tuesday.

The Roughriders scored a 3-1 intracity high school volleyball win against visiting Grand Forks Central. Red River won 25-17, 25-23, 24-26, 25-16.

Red River nearly had a sweep, leading 19-7 in the third set. But Central rallied and finished the set with five unanswered points, with Katie Noreen putting down a kill for set point.

“You lose that one and you’re still up one set,’’ Red River junior Liv Lotysz said. “You try to forget about it. It’s not easy. But you have to stay positive.’’


Red River never trailed in the final set, jumping to a 7-1 lead after Kaylee Lancaster had three service aces in a 5-0 serving run. An 8-2 run gave the Riders a 22-13 lead and Lotysz finished off the match with a kill and an ace for match point.

“Central fought hard (in the third set) and we stopped playing hard,’’ Red River coach Jason Heydt said. “I wanted to see how our girls would react after Central came back, especially after we were up 2-0 against Valley City last week and lost 3-2.

“I think some of the girls were a little nervous (in the fourth set). But we relaxed. I think we reacted well. We did a much better job in the back row on defense and serve receive. When we communicate in the back row, we can do well against anybody. When we don’t communicate, we’re bad.’’

Red River was led by the one-two punch of juniors Alex Page and Kaylee Lancaster. Page had 10 kills while Lancaster had match highs of 11 kills and eight service aces.

“We’ve been working with Kaylee on her serving,’’ Heydt said. “That was huge for us. She went on quite a few serving runs.’’

Noreen’s eight kills paced Central, with Megan Peck adding six. Aubrea Lommen had a double double with 20 assists and 15 digs.

“That (third-set comeback) was fun,’’ Central coach Katie Arthur said. “We didn’t give up. We made fewer errors than Red River did to finish the set, and we were able to capitalize on their errors.

“But our serve receive wasn’t consistent (in the fourth set), especially at crucial times when they went on some runs.’’


Central was in position to win the second set, leading 23-21 only to see Red River close it on a 4-0 run.

Red River improved to 2-1 in the East Region and 4-5 overall. Central dropped to 0-3 in the region and 1-9 overall.

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