Trailing two games to one and with Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood holding all the momentum, the Bishop Ryan volleyball team rallied to take the final two frames to win a District 12 home match on Thursday.
Leading 4-3 in the fifth game, Ryan junior right-side hitter Anika Rovig won 11 consecutive service points, including four aces, to complete the comeback victory (25-18, 16-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-3). Rovig finished with a match-high 10 aces.
"I had my teammates behind me encouraging me," Rovig said. "I just did what I could to help my team out."
Mike Kraft/MDN • Bishop Ryan junior outside hitter Brieann Backes (36) and sophomore middle hitter Gabbie Bohl attempt to block a shot by MLS’ Callie Carlson during Thursday’s match.
The Lions (13-10 overall, 4-3 district) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the deciding fifth game after two MLS shots went out of bounds. The Mavericks answered with a three-point run of its own to tie the game. A service error by MLS junior setter Shania Brackenbury gave the ball and the lead back to the Lions.
The Mavericks (10-5, 5-3) didn't serve again. Rovig's serves, along with back-to-back kills by sophomore middle hitter Gabbie Bohl and sophomore outside hitter Hannah Stewart, ended the match.
"We were just kind of tired of losing fifth games," Bohl said. "It was one of those things where we needed to win this. It was a district game so it's for the standings and we really wanted to win."
After splitting the opening two games, the Lions appeared to have the third frame all but won. Ryan led 15-9 following one of Bohl's 6.5 blocks. MLS coach Kayla Rettig called her second timeout of the game before the Mavericks started chipping away at Ryan's lead. MLS tied the game at 20 and took a 22-21 lead following a kill by junior outside hitter Sierra Smith. The Mavericks won the final three points of the game to take their first lead of the match.
"Realistically, it was going to be a five-game match," Ryan coach Patty Luetzen said. "It was necessary that we beat MLS because our team is taking a step up this year."
MLS carried over its momentum from the third game and took a quick 3-0 lead after a block and kill by junior outside hitter Callie Carlson and a Brackenbury ace.
Needing a spark, Bohl and Stewart provided two kills, a block and an ace for four consecutive points and a 6-4 lead. Another block by Bohl gave the Lions a 12-8 lead, prompting Retting to call another timeout. This time it didn't lead to an MLS rally. Instead, Ryan took control of the game with an 11-3 run and eventually won it to continue the match.
"We communicated more," Rovig said. "We have a good team and we're athletic, but athleticism doesn't mean anything if you can't communicate with your team. "We had to turn it on. It was a reality check."
Ryan begins play in the Laker Invite today at 1 against Griggs County at Burlington-Des Lacs Elementary School.