Harvey seeking state title
Ding dong the streak is dead. After dominating Region 4 volleyball for the past 11 seasons, the Harvey Hornets were finally the team to take down the Langdon Cardinals, dashing the defending Class B state champs a 12th straight trip to state last...
Ding dong the streak is dead.
After dominating Region 4 volleyball for the past 11 seasons, the Harvey Hornets were finally the team to take down the Langdon Cardinals, dashing the defending Class B state champs a 12th straight trip to state last Thursday inside the Devils Lake Sports Center.
"To beat them is a feather in our cap, and a testimony to the talent we have right now," Harvey coach Brenda Lang said. "Langdon is an incredible team, to have gone to the state tournament the last 11 years."
Harvey hasn't played in a state volleyball tournament since 1993, and they're the first Region 4 team other than Langdon to advance to the big show this decade. The Hornets begin the tourney tonight at 8 p.m. against the Stanley Blue Jays at the Minot State University Dome, and don't assume the team is simply happy to have made it.
With five tournament titles -- including the District 7 and Region 4 championships -- a sparkling overall record of 37-0 and having only lost a total of six sets all season, the Hornets are arguably the favorite to win it all.
After finishing fourth in the region tournament last season with a final record of 28-7, the core of returning players expected nothing less in 2009.
"The girls decided they were going to do this at the end of last season, and they got down to business," said Lang, the Region 4 Coach of the Year.
Harvey is 20-0 in head-to-head competition this season, and has racked up 17 more victories en route to first-place finishes at tournaments held in Bottineau, Washburn and Rolla. A large facet of Harvey's success this year is five dominate front-row attackers, with one of the best setters in the state feeding those athletes the ball.
Amy Buxa is the lone senior in Harvey's plethora of outside hitters, which include juniors Sheyenne Schneider, Maggie Lorenz, Rachel Nyhus and Elizabeth Schmeets. Listed at 5-foot-9, Schmeets is the shortest of the Hornets' imposing front line.
Schneider leads the group with 419 kills and 76 blocks, upping her career totals as a junior to 866 and 163. Lorenz and Nyhus have also put up solid numbers on the year, combining for 488 kills and 119 blocks. Nyhus also tops the pack with 34 aces.
Directing the teams' finely-tuned offense is Jaclyn Bachmeier, the District 7 Senior Athlete of the Year. Bachmeier has connected with her teammates for 841 of her gaudy 2,213 career assists this season.
"We just have a group of young ladies who work well together. It's like a well-oiled machine," Lang said. "It's a coach's dream to have a team like this."
Schneider and Lorenz posted 40 and 32 kills, respectively, in last week's Region 4 tournament that saw the Hornets breeze by St. John (3-0) and Rolla-Rock Lake (3-0) in the opening two rounds. Langdon went the distance in the championship match, but 19 kills by Schneider and 39 assists by Bachmeier helped the Hornets roll to state 22-25, 25-19, 26-24, 15-25, 15-12.
Lang explained today's matchup against the Region 8 champs could be interesting, as the Blue Jays appear to mirror the Hornets' five-player attack up front. But don't expect the 32-year veteran coach to make many changes to Harvey's model of success this evening.
In fact, get ready to witness what got them there.
"We just need to be sure to play the exact same way we played in the regional tournament, both offensively and defensively," Lang said. "We're not making any changes.
"It's like the old saying. You dance with the partner that brought you."
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com