FARGO — Undefeated Linton-HMB looked the part of the No. 1 seed as it swiftly took care of Minot Our Redeemer’s in a 25-15, 25-17, 25-12 sweep in the North Dakota Class B state volleyball tournament quarterfinals on Thursday in the Fargodome.
The Lions’ front line defense dominated at the net, racking up 10 total blocks. Emily Kelsch led the Lions with three blocks, while ShayLee Bosch JayCee Richter each had two.
“We do have some jumpers,” Lions coach Jaime Richter said. “They closed the block really well so we could set up our defense. When the block is on, our defense can do whatever we want. They’re always in great spots in the back row when the block is on.”
Setter Gracie Schumacher spread the ball around as she tallied 31 assists. The Lions’ kills were spread out across their top three hitters with JayCee Richter tallying 10, Teegan Scherr 8 and Bosch 7.
“This is Schumacher’s first year playing varsity volleyball here and she really read the blockers and she really spread it around,” Jaime Richter said. “That’s when we play our best, when we can spread it out.”
Richter said she wasn’t sure how her team would respond to the big-match setting after her team hadn’t been to the state tournament in seven years. But they did enough to stay undefeated and complete the season sweep of the Knights. The Lions swept Our Redeemer’s twice in the regular season.
“I’ve been here four times myself, but you never know what it’s going to be like,” Jaime Richter said. “It’s like stardom when you walk in. And Our Redeemer’s — this is like home-court advantage — they’ve been here seven years in a row. When we came before, we went four years in a row and it was a big difference from the first time we went to state to the fourth time. I was hoping the girls would control that excitement and they did.”
Kelsch seized control of the third set with a serving run that saw the Lions take eight straight points and pull ahead 20-9. Kelsch tallied four aces in the run and totaled five in the match. She also had five kills, three blocks and 10 digs.
“I definitely felt like this was Kesch’s game tonight,” Jaime Richter said. “She has a lot of nice things with her hitting, too, and her blocking. She got in a zone and that ball was definitely flying over that net.”