FARGO — Undefeated and No. 1 seed Linton-HMB defeated Northern Class to set up a title match showdown with the defending Class B champions.
The Lions (24-0) swept the Jaguars 25-22, 25-17, 25-21 in the North Dakota Class B volleyball tournament semifinals on Friday at the Fargodome. They advanced to face Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich in the final on Saturday in a 1 vs. 2 matchup.
“This is what we have been working for all year,” Lions junior hitter Teegan Scherr said. “We’re all super excited. That is going to be a tough matchup. We all just need to keep our composure and just play like we can.”
Linton sophomore setter Gracie Schumacher spread the ball around to hitters evenly as she racked up 35 assists. Five Lions had at least six kills. Scherr led the Lions with 12 kills, JayCee Richter had 10, ShayLee Bosch had seven, and Emily Kelsch and Kim Gefroh each had six.
“Gracie was great,” Scherr said. “She did really well. She always mixed it up and moved the ball around to fool the blockers and put it where we could hit it.”
The decisive third set was a back-and-forth battle the whole way. Neither team was able to separate with an extended run. Each climbed up the score sheet one or two points at a time. Linton’s largest lead in the set was its four-point margin at the end after Richter had the match-sealing kill.
The second set was just as tight through the first half, but a Richter serving run pushed the Lions in front. There were six lead changes and eight ties by the time the set was tied at 14. Linton went on an 8-0 run from there with two aces by Richter, and two kills each by Scherr and Bosch. Gefroh sealed the set with a tip over the Jaguars block.
Morgan Nelson led the Jaguars with nine kills, while Halle Crockett and Emma Lucas each had seven. Senior setter Sarah Yoney had a double-double with 22 assists and 15 digs. Abby Rasmussen had 32 digs.
“We watched a lot of film and studied Northern Cass a lot. We saw some things we could do,” Scherr said. “And we came in here fired up and pumped up and ready to go.”
With two state tournament sweeps, the Lions now have 22 sweeps this season and have only lost three sets. Dickinson Trinity took the Lions to five sets on Oct. 3 and Flasher took them to four on Oct. 16.
Linton’s state final foe, L-E-M, only lost twice in the regular season and is riding a 19-match winning streak.
“The whole entire year, this is what we’ve wanted so bad,” Scherr said. “This atmosphere is so amazing. We’re having so much fun here. We’re so excited to play in that match in front of our fans. They’re so loud. They pump us up.”