KINDRED, N.D.-The day after the Kindred Vikings won the region volleyball championship, their coaching staff went to the tattoo parlor to pay up on a promise.
All four coaches got the same tattoo that symbolizes the team motto for this season.
"I thought that was pretty amazing that they did that for us," said Kindred senior setter Brooke Hiatt, who leads the team with 948 assists. "I think it shows commitment all the way around. It makes us want to do even better at state."
The Vikings (24-18) play Park River-Fordville-Lankin (23-11) at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in the first round of the North Dakota Class B state tournament at the Fargodome. Kindred has won six consecutive matches heading into the state tournament.
"They are just playing with so much passion, not only for the game but for one another," Kindred head coach Amanda Scheffler said. "Every single point, they are feeling it."
Scheffler and her assistants, Carena Ashburn, Harlee Glasow and Ashley LaFave, all have permanent reminders of this team, getting simple black ink tattoos on their left wrists-four dots with an arrow tip at the end.
The team motto is F.E.A.R. (Face Everything And Rise) and the dots on the tattoo represent the dots that separate the letters. At the start of the season, the team got metal bracelets with the four dots and "Face Everything And Rise" inscribed.
The motto was shortened to "rise up" around midway through this season, and the arrow was added to the four dots for the region tournament. Scheffler promised the team she would get the tattoo if the team made it to the state tournament. That became reality last Thursday when the Vikings rallied to defeat Fargo Oak Grove 3-1 for the Region 1 championship in Lisbon.
"It showed to us that they care so much about us and this season," said Kindred senior outside hitter Madi Erickson, who leads the team with 459 kills. "It was just really cool to see."
The Vikings did rise up at the end of the season, entering the region tournament as the No. 4 seed. Kindred scored a 3-1 victory against No. 1-seeded Central Cass in the region semifinals before knocking off Oak Grove, which was the No. 2 seed, for the region championship.
"I love these kids and they've just battled so hard this year," said Scheffler, a 2007 Moorhead High School graduate who played on two state tournament volleyball teams with the Spuds. "It's bring back every little thing about a sport that you love."
In mid-October, the Vikings had a .500 record after losing four of six matches, including a loss to Central Cass. Kindred hasn't lost since, winning its last two matches in the regular season and four matches in the region tournament.
"I think we started playing together more and started having a lot more fun," Hiatt said.
Most of the players had the four dots and arrow symbol printed in marker on the front, inside sole of their shoes for the region tournament. Hiatt thinks the motto proved fitting for the Vikings. "We faced everything and rose when it really mattered," Hiatt said.
Kindred last made the state tournament in 2012, defeating Langdon for the state title that season. Erickson was an eighth-grader and the only current player who was on that team.
"It's been like a dream of mine to go back," Erickson said.