Roughriders, Spartans move on
MINOT -- While Grand Forks Red River has been an offensive force at the net this season, defense has been another matter. "We haven't been a super blocking team,' Roughriders coach Carolyn Olson said. Thursday, however, part of a good offense for...
MINOT -- While Grand Forks Red River has been an offensive force at the net this season, defense has been another matter.
"We haven't been a super blocking team,' Roughriders coach Carolyn Olson said.
Thursday, however, part of a good offense for the Roughriders was defense. Red River had 17 blocks in beating Dickinson 22-25, 25-11, 25-15, 25-14 in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class A girls high school volleyball tournament.
Emily Evers led the way with four solo blocks, with Emily Asche getting three and Katie Ronkowski and Jordyn Steffen two solos apiece.
"That's a great blocking game for us,' Olson said. "They did a great job of reading Dickinson's hitters. We knew we needed to shut down their outsides.
"And some of blocking is also forcing teams to hit where your defense is set up. We got in position to dig and set up our offense. That's the best defense we've played all year.'
Alexa Bateman had 18 digs to lead the back-row defense.
Red River started slowly, as Roughrider errors accounted for 14 of Dickinson's points in the opening game.
In the final three games, however, Dickinson trailed most of the way and only once held a lead of as many as two points, at 3-1 to start the fourth game.
"We were feeling good after the first game,' Dickinson coach Jay Schobinger said. "We were taking care of the ball and Red RIver had some hitting errors.
But against a good team like that, it's tough to keep that emotion up, that momentum.'
Asche had 14 kills, Steffen 11 and Evers 10 to lead a Rider offense that finished with a 50-23 advantage in kills.
"Our rhythm wasn't on to start the match,' Olson said. "We took care of that in game two, letting the setters set before our hitters did their approaching. We had to develop pace.'
Madison Deibert had eight kills and Jessica Herauf seven to pace Dickinson.
"Red River grabbed the momentum (in the second game) and never let us get back into it,' Schobinger said. "They kept us out of our offensive system.'
Fargo North 3, Bismarck 0
In the only quarterfinal match won by a lower seed, Fargo North edged the Demons 25-23, 27-25, 25-20. North was the No. 3 seed from the East Region while Bismarck High was West Region regular-season champion and runner-up in the regional.
Bismarck had been 3-0 against North this season. The difference?
"We've become more well-rounded on offense,' North coach Missy Wilson said. "Our younger kids are stepping up and putting the ball down.'
Angie Waller had a big match for the Spartans, as the senior had 19 kills. Kira Larson added five kills and Keli Johnson and Maren McGurran had four apiece.
Larson had two key plays at the net. With the second game tied at 25-25, North picked up the win when Larson scored on back-to-back blocks. "Those were huge,' Wilson said. "I wouldn't say we were comfortable at that point. But we were confident going up 2-0.'
KaSara Rudolph's eight kills led Demons, and she also had a match-high 28 assists.
Annie Assel, Anna Hruby and Josette Glatt added seven kills each for Bismarck.
But Bismarck's offense struggled against an aggressive Spartans defense led by Marty Hope, who had 14 digs.
"Their defense was tough,' Bismarck co-coach Jessica Anderson said. "We were trying to mix things up on offense. They got some good ups.'
Greg DeVillers is a sports writer for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.