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Linton-HMB dispatches Des Lacs-Burlington

If the first 10 points of the match had been any indication how the rest would go, No. 2 Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock would have been in for a fight.

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BISMARCK -- If the first 10 points of the match had been any indication how the rest would go, No. 2 Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock would have been in for a fight.

After trailing 7-3 to unseeded Des Lacs-Burlington, a team making its first appearance at state since 2001, the Lions (35-2) went on an 18-2 run to take a 21-9 lead, and never looked back. Less than an hour after first serve, the Lions closed out a three-set sweep, 25-13, 25-12, 25-12, in the opening quarterfinal match of the Class B state tournament on Thursday.

"We started off a little rocky," Linton-HMB coach Jaime Richter said. "Getting used to the court, it's such a different atmosphere and it seemed so big out there."

Taking advantage of the wide-open spaces provided by the Bismarck Event Center's Main Court, Linton-HMB locked in and took advantage of a Des Lacs-Burlington offense that could not match the defending state champion's firepower.

Shaylee Bosch's 13 kills and JayCee Richter's 12 kills were tops on the day for the Lions.

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"One thing I wanted to do was establish all of our hitters," Jaime Richter said. "We wanted our hitters to create a one-on-one with their blockers, and that's what I felt like we did all day."

The Lions served 14 aces, including a team-high five by setter Gracie Schumacher.

"First contact, you could tell our serving was on tonight," Richter said. "You could tell they had some problems with our serving. Once we started speeding up the game, that's when we started playing well."

Communication was lacking for the Lakers during the first set, but even with a noticeable improvement in the second and third sets, Linton-HMB just kept being in the right spots on defense and punishing the Lakers for each and every free ball they sent over the net.

"I told the girls, no matter what, when there's chaos there, you think you're going to get a kill, think you're not," Richter said. "You have to be in your base at all times and be ready for them to dig it up.

"Something I noticed with us, when things got a little chaotic, I felt the girls took advantage of that and capitalized on those kinds of points and we got a lot of adrenaline and energy from."

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A 4-0 run for Des Lacs-Burlington midway through the first set got them within six at 12-6, but Linton-HMB calmly put a 13-6 run together over the remainder of the match to take a 2-0 lead.

"I'm pretty lucky, two of our girls have been starting since eighth grade and my libero, Callie (Hase), has been starting since freshman year, so they have been playing together for a long time," Richter said. "One thing they are very good at is reading. With the big court, they were reading tips, roll shots, their hits, and I was really happy with that."

Des Lacs-Burlington strung some points together early on in the match to tie the third set at 4-4, but a responding 10-3 run by Linton put some distance between the two teams.

One 11-5 run later, and Linton-HMB could celebrate with its fans, heading into its second straight semifinal appearance.

"We love running after balls, we love this big court," Richter said. "It felt great to step on the court and we were excited to be here. It was a great atmosphere."

Des Lacs-Burlington was led in kills by seniors Krysta Berard (five) and Emily DeGree (three). Sophomore Paige Berard had the lone two blocks for the Lakers.

Linton's semifinal opponent was decided in the second quarterfinal of the day, as they will face the unseeded Thompson Tommies, winner of the Region 2 tournament, after the Tommies upset Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich, 3-0.

THOMPSON 3, LANGDON-A-E-M 0

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Needing a couple of extra points in the third sets didn't bother unseeded Thompson (33-5).

Up 2-0, the Tommies finished off the sweep 28-26 in the third to earn a spot in the semifinals.

Thompson led for much of the first set, had a tough fight in the second, and had to pull off a comeback in the third.

Thompson was led in its upset over the Cardinals by Alexis Zafke, who had 15 kills. Summer Hegg finished with 11 kills and three blocks. Libby Koerber totaled nine kills, an ace, and a half-block.

Morgan Freije tried to single-handedly keep her team in the game, as the Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich senior hitter had a game-high 18 kills and 26 assists, while adding an ace, 22 digs, and two blocks.

The Tommies and Lions will square off in the first semifinal Friday at 5 p.m. on the Main Arena floor. Des Lacs-Burlington and Langdon-Edmore-Munich play a consolation match at 1 in the Exhibit Hall.

Linton-HMB 3, Des Lacs-Burlington

DLB: 13 12 12

LHMB: 25 25 25

Des Lacs-Burlington – Kills: Krysta Berard 5, Emily DeGree 3, Kaelyn Bachmeier 2, Paige Berard 1, Rachel Ralph 1. Aces: None. Assists: Laney Wahus 5, Paige Berard 4, Bachmeier 1. Digs: Wahus 9, Ava Fiest 8, Bachmeier 6, Ralph 5, Paige Berard 5, Krysta Berard 4, DeGree 2, Cambrey Benno 2, Olivia Redding 1, Shay Holen 1. Blocks: Paige Berard 2.

Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock – Kills: ShayLee Bosch 13, JayCee Richter 12, Teegan Scherr 8, Kim Gefroh 7, Lacey Bosch 3. Aces: Gracie Schumacher 5, Callie Hase 3, Richter 3, Gefroh 2, Grace Keeney 1, Scherr 1. Assists: Schumacher 35, Emma Schick 2, Paige Hulm 1, Scherr 1, Lacey Bosch 1. Digs: Hase 18, Richter 15, Hulm 8, Scherr 7, Schumacher 6, Gefroh 1. Blocks: Lacey Bosch 2, Gefroh 1.

Records: Des Lacs-Burlington 27-10; Linton-HMB 36-2.

Thompson 3, Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich

Thompson: 25 25 28

LAEM: 18 22 26

Thompson – Kills: Alexis Zafke 15, Summer Hegg 11, Libby Koerber 9, Mya Krogstad 8, Brenna Martin 6, Clara Stevens 2. Aces: Bailey Munson 1, Sydney Schwabe 1, Jasmine Welke 1, Krogstad 1. Assists: Schwabe 19, Koerber 16, Stevens 3, Krogstad 2, Munson 1. Digs: Munson 23, Koerber 19, Krogstad 15, Schwabe 14, Welke 8, Zafke 5, Jordan West 1, Hegg 1, Stevens 1, Martin 1. Blocks: Hegg 3, Koerber 0.5, Stevens 0.5.

Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich – Kills: Morgan Freije 18, Morgan Thielbar 5, Meredith Romfo 2, McKenna Schneider 2, Marlee Hetletved 1, Jalynn Swanson 1. Aces: Swanson 4, Thielbar 2, Hetletved 1, Halle Jabs 1, Freije 1. Assists: Freije 26, Romfo 1, Schneider 1, Taryn Amble 1. Digs: Freije 22, Swanson 14, Jabs 12, Amble 12, Hatletved 6, Thielbar 6, Romfo 6, Schneider 5. Blocks: Freije 2, Schneider 1.

Records: Thompson 33-5; Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich 34-5.

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