FARGO — Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich rode two long serving runs to erase deficits in the first two sets as it defeated Kenmare 25-19, 25-17, 25-22 in the North Dakota Class B state volleyball quarterfinals on Thursday at the Fargodome.
The third-seeded Cardinals erased a 19-13 deficit in the first set as Lexis Olson set them on a 12-0 run with. L-E-M did it again in the second, pulling away with a nine-point service run by Morgan Freije that featured four aces.
“Luckily for us we were sparked by a couple of long serving runs — Lexis Olson had a big one in the first set and then Morgan Freije had a couple that sparked us,” L-E-M coach Richard Olson said. “A lot of other things we were struggling compared to what we’ve seen out of these girls all year. A lot of credit to Kenmare. They got us out of system and we were struggling.”
Freije tallied six aces in the match, Halle Jabs had three, Kaylee Lowery had two, and Freije and Jalynn Swanson had one each. Olson said that instant scoring was vital to the Cardinals taking the match as the Honkers kept them off-balance and out of system.
“They were hitting seams with their serve and jamming with their serve and just being aggressive,” Olson said. “We just didn’t have quick enough feet or dropstep quick enough to get the ball to our setter. We ended up pushing a lot of free balls against them and if you do that against anybody in the state tournament, they’ll make you pay.”
Olson led L-E-M with 14 kills and 16 digs. She entered the tournament as the team leader in kills with 311, digs with 316 and blocks with 79.
The Cardinals trailed again late in the third set 19-16, but finished strong and closed out the match. They rode a 7-1 run to a 23-20 lead, Kenmare scored twice to make it 23-22 and then L-E-M finished it with two-straight points.
“Our block started to figure them out as the game went on, but we weren’t doing really well early on,” Olson said. “I thought we improved as the match went on.”
L-E-M has won 18 matches in a row including 14 sweeps. Its last loss came against Carrington in its fifth game. The Cardinals split against semifinal opponent Thompson in the regular season. The Tommies won 3-2 on Sept. 10 and L-E-M won 3-1 on Oct. 10.
“We’re excited to be playing in the semifinals at state,” Olson said. “We’re going to give it all we’ve got against a really tough Thompson team. We’ve played them a couple of times this season and we’re excited to play them again.”