Carrington, Ellendale look to make noiseThere’s no time to relax for Region 4 volleyball teams — not with a stacked region tournament. Carrington, Midkota, Langdon and North Star make up the top two seeds in Districts 7 and 8, but the bottom four seeds could pack some punch as well. For instance, Benson County — District 7’s No. 3 seed — has a win this season over Carrington, which won the district tournament last week. “It’s like a mini-state tournament,” Carrington coach Sharon Boehmer said. “It will be that exciting.”
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
There’s no time to relax for Region 4 volleyball teams — not with a stacked region tournament.
Carrington, Midkota, Langdon and North Star make up the top two seeds in Districts 7 and 8, but the bottom four seeds could pack some punch as well.
For instance, Benson County — District 7’s No. 3 seed — has a win this season over Carrington, which won the district tournament last week.
“It’s like a mini-state tournament,” Carrington coach Sharon Boehmer said. “It will be that exciting.”
The Region 4 tournament begins Monday in New Rockford with Langdon vs. Lakota-Adams Edmore at 3 p.m.
Fans of Region 4 likely remember the fireworks that ensued at the region girls basketball tournament in March. Midkota upset defending state champion Carrington in the semis, but fell to Lakota-Adams-Edmore in the final.
Nothing is guaranteed in a tournament format — including excitement — but there’s no doubting the teams involved have the capability of putting on a good show.
“Fans who come out and watch are gonna see some of the best volleyball around the state,” Boehmer said. “We have a good (region).”
The Cardinals captured the district title in surprising fashion, sweeping powerhouse Midkota, which lost hitter Kallie Frappier early in game 1 and never recovered despite the adjustments of region coach of the year Michael Timm.
“We came out playing really strong,” Boehmer said. “Kallie went down and didn’t return to the match. (Timm) changed up the rotation after set 1. … I think once they get a chance to go back to their court and look at what rotation looks best for them, they will be strong.”
Midkota was the top seed after earning a sweep in Carrington during the regular season. However, the Cardinals hold a 2-1 lead this season as they beat Midkota in the championship match of the Lakota Invitational.
Carrington’s led by junior Madison Wendel, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker who has specialized in quick-hits i.e. hitting the ball on its way up in the air, rather than on its way down. Wendel has started since her freshman year.
“She can score a lot of the time on her quick hits,” Boehmer said. “She’s such an all-around player. She passes really well. … She has a nice jump serve. She blocks really well. She anticipates; she knows the game. She has continued to push herself to be a better player and such a team player.”
While Midkota is looking to repeat as region champion, Carrington’s looking for its first-ever trip. The Cardinals play Rolette-Wolford in the third match of the night, set for sometime around 6 p.m.
“It’s gonna take three solid matches,” Boehmer said. “We have to put together three amazing nights of volleyball and hopefully, we continue to play our best.”
Collette Middlestead said she knew a rematch with LaMoure in the District 5 tournament championship would be a bit tougher than when her team swept the Loboes in the regular season.
It was everything the Ellendale coach thought and more, as LaMoure took Ellendale to five games before the Cardinals held on for the win. Ellendale took a 2-0 lead in the match before LaMoure stormed back.
“The girls and I were all really anxious and nervous,” Middlestead said. “We expected it to be a little more difficult.”
The Cardinals prevailed and earned a No. 1 seed for Monday’s Region 3 tournament in LaMoure. Ellendale squares off against Strasburg-Zeeland in the third match of the day. It starts at 3 p.m. with Napoleon and Edgeley-Kulm.
Ellendale senior Lucinda Stoppleworth was on fire, pounding 26 kills in the win.
“Those first two games, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her play that well,” Middlestead said. “At the start of game 5, I said every set had to go to Lucy. She’s having the game of her life. It was a great time to do so.”
The Cardinals aren’t a young team, but they’re not an old team, either. Most of the starters are juniors. Stoppleworth is the only senior starter.
Every team seems to have an identity, and if Middlestead has to pick one, she’d go with “risk-takers.”
“I feel like that was the difference (against LaMoure),” Middlestead said. “LaMoure is very smart. They’re very technique-based. We take more chances and it doesn’t always work out. We play smart, but we like to put a little spin on it and make it what you’re not going to expect.”
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org