FARGO-At 5-foot-9, Anna Holen delivers a big punch in high school volleyball. At 5-foot-4, her younger sister Ellie is quickly learning to do the same.
"I feel like when teams look at her, they really aren't expecting that much from her," Anna said. "She plays bigger than she is. She's awesome."
The Holen sisters played big in a fifth and final set to help LaMoure claim its second straight North Dakota Class B state volleyball championship in the Fargodome Saturday night. Seemingly on the way to a three-set win, LaMoure needed to regroup in a fifth set against never-say-die Minot Our Redeemers with 25-19, 25-16, 21-25, 17-25 and 15-8 wins.
"I don't think it has hit any of us yet," Anna said.
LaMoure hit Our Redeemers hard in the first two sets. Anna, only a junior, produced 9 of her 31 kills during a 10-4 run that sparked the 25-19 first-set win. In the second set, Anna had three kills and two short, lob serves that sparked a 9-5 lead. Six times, LaMoure maintained a 7-point lead enroute to its 25-16 win.
LaMoure appeared poised to end it in three sets when it took a 21-18 lead in the third set. But that's when Morgan Olson's five kills ignited a 7-0 run and a 25-21 third-set run. The momentum continued in the fourth set when Our Redeemers posted its 25-17 win.
"Volleyball is a huge game of momentum," said LaMoure head coach Laurie Good. "And give Our Redeemers all the credit for that comeback."
"They are a great team," Anna said of Our Redeemers, whose season ends with a 42-3 record. "We knew any lead wouldn't be safe against them."
So in a classic state championship match, it came down to the final set.
"We just needed to calm down and play our game," Anna said.
That's when Anna and her sister played big roles in the fifth set.
Anna set Ellie for her 12th kill of the match that gave LaMoure a 4-2 lead. Ellie's two kills made it 8-5. After Ellie came up with a big dig, Anna delivered a kill that made it 10-6. A kill and a block by Anna produced two points that made it 13-6. Anna's kills down the line made it 14-6.
The match finally ended when Anna's tip dropped to the floor.
"It's a great duo to have," Good said of the Holen sisters.
LaMoure, with a 36-3 record and one of those losses coming against Our Redeemers earlier this season, becomes the first Class B team to win back-to-back titles since Thompson did it in 2004 and 2005. Now, the Loboes-with the Holen sisters returning and losing only three seniors-could become the first Class B team to win three straight state championships.
"It's too soon to think about that," Good said with a smile.
The all-tournaments team: Abby Hintz from Center-Stanton; Amy Seim and Taylor Dalbey from Park River-Fordville-Lankin; Raquel Doll from Hazen; Maddison Erickson and Brook Hiatt from Kindred; Makayla Gartner, Lauren Hendrickson and Morgan Olson from Our Redeemers; Rachel Hill and Madison Hart from Langdon-Edmore-Munich; Kindra Hamlin, Jackie Meiklejohn, Ellie Holen and Anna Holen from LaMoure.
Our Redeemer's Kara Nunziato was named coach of the year and Our Redeemer's Morgan Olson was named senior athlete of the year.
LaMoure (kills-blocks-service aces)-Ellie Holen 12-0-0, Anna Holen 31-4-1 (33 digs), Ana Mart 0-0-1, Alyson Rodin 0-1-0, Kindra Hamlin 12-0-0, Jackie Meiklejohn 2-0-0 (42 assists).
Our Redeemer's-Lauren Hendrickson 0-0-0 (40 digs), Abbey Koppinger 3-3-0, Ryleigh Popinga 4-0-0, Karlee Zablotney 0-1-0 (19 assists), Morgan Olson 21-0-0 (22 assists), Cara Steede 8-1-0, Calissa Ree 3-0-0, Makayla Gartner 8-0-0.
Langdon-Edmore-Munich over Kindred 25-18, 25-23, 25-11
L-E-M (kills-blocks-aces): Hill 1-0-1 (34 assists, 12 digs), Ellington 7-0-1 (17 digs), Worley 8-0-0 (11 digs), Hart 15-2-2 (18 digs), Ronningen 9-0-1, Hiller 1-1-0, Pritchard 0-01.
K: Biewer 2-1-1, Keller 2-0-0, Erickson 8-1-0 (9 digs), Braaten 0-0-0, Reinke 2-0-0 (18 digs), Hiatt 1-0-1 (10 assists, 10 digs).
Park River-Fordville-Lankin over Hazen 25-11, 25-22, 25-10
H (kills-blocks-aces): Rask 0-0-0 (18 digs), Zimmerman 2-1-0 (13 digs), Hintz 2-1-3 (7 assists), Doll 6-2-0 (10 digs), Leier 2-0-0, Hochsprung 0-0-0, Byerley 2-0-0, Reinhardt 0-0-0, Walters 1-0-0, Lemer 0-0-0, Pfiger 0-0-0, Faut 0-0-0, Bornermann 0-0-0.
P-F-L: Seim 0-0-0 (21 digs), Markusen 0-0-2, Miller 0-0-2, Beneda 6-0-0, Swartz 10-0-1, Zavalney 1-0-0 (32 assists, 7 digs), Brummond 7-1-0, Dalbey 7-2-1, Gordon 4-0-0.
Ray over Center-Stanton 25-15, 25-20, 25-21
C-S (kills-blocks-aces): Jacobson 8-0-0 (12 digs), A. Hintz 13-0-0 (9 digs), Towe 0-0-0, Henke 3-0-2 (24 assists, 13 digs), Vitek 7-0-0 (9 digs), Ashley Frank 3-0-0 (9 digs), Amber Frank 2-0-0, T. Hintz 0-0-0, Haag 1-0-0.
RAY: Veach 11-1-1, Viall 2-1-1, Hickel 1-0-0, Perdue 1-1-1 (20 assists), Boone 1-2-2, Daniel 0-0-0, Dolan 8-0-1 (13 digs).