FARGO-Kindred appeared headed to a fifth set Thursday night at the Fargodome, but Vikings head coach Amanda Scheffler didn't want the drama.
"We stress not going to five, we have very mixed feelings about it," Scheffler said with a smile. "We would rather fight in the fourth set."
Kindred used a run of eight straight points late the fourth set to rally for victory. That frenetic finish capped a 21-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-23 victory against Park River-Fordville-Lankin in the first round of the North Dakota Class B state volleyball tournament.
"They can fight," Scheffler said of her team. "They're fighters."
The Vikings (25-18) play top-seeded Minot Our Redeemer's (41-2) at 8 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals.
"If we can play the game that we know we can, we can do anything," said Kindred senior Madi Erickson, who had a match-high 19 kills against the Aggies.
Park River-Fordville-Lankin took a 20-15 lead in the fourth set after junior Elaina Swartz's tip kill. The Vikings responded with the next eight points. Junior middle hitter Taylor Keller had four kills during that momentum-changing stretch. The 5-foot-10 Keller capped that surge with a kill that gave Kindred a 23-20 lead.
The 5-foot-8 Erickson capped the comeback and closed the match with a kill on the left side of the net. The Vikings exploded once the ball hit the floor for a 25-23 set win.
"I was almost like relieved," Erickson said.
"It was nice that they went out swinging," Scheffler said of match point. "They earned it and it wasn't given to them."
For a third consecutive match, the Vikings dropped the first set before rallying to win the next three. Kindred also rallied from down 1-0 in the region semifinals and region championship.
"The first set we played individually and we didn't play with the passion that we knew we had," Erickson said. "The following sets, we just played together as a unit."
KINDRED (kills-blocks-aces): Biewer 4-0-1, Keller 11-1-1, Erickson 19-4-3, Braaten 0-0-0 (17 digs), Reinke 8-1-1 (21 digs), Hiatt 2-0-0 (40 assists), Heinrich 7-3-0.
PRFL: Seim 1-0-2 (27 assists), Markusen 0-0-2, Miller 0-0-2, B. Beneda 4-4-0, Swartz 7-1-1 (24 digs), Zavalney 4-4-0 (26 assists), Brummond 5-1-0, Dalbey 10-7-0, Gordon 4-0-0.