They may not be the No. 1 seed, but the Velva High School volleyball team will have home-court advantage when the District 11 tournament begins at 3 p.m. today.
The tournament - held at Velva Public School Gymnasium - opens with top-seeded Bottineau playing Dunseith and finishes with a trio of region-qualifying matches Monday.
Vevla coach Molly Terveen likes her team's chances at reaching - and winning - the district championship match, citing the tournament's location as part of the reason.
MDN File Photo
Bottineau junior setter Bailey Neubauer serves during a match against Bishop Ryan earlier this season. The Braves are the No. 1 seed in the District 11 tournament.
"It's where we practice during the week and we're familiar with the court," Terveen said. "It's a pretty big advantage."
Velva is 5-1 at home this season.
Before the Aggies (13-9-1 overall, 6-1 district) can reach Monday's championship match, they have to get by Westhope-Newburg in the first round. Velva won its only matchup with the Sioux (6-13-1, 3-4) in straight games.
District tournament roundup
Midkota is the top seed and has a first-round bye along with No. 2 seed Benson County. The tournament begins at 5:30 p.m. today at New Rockford-Sheyenne High School.
North Star is the No. 1 seed and will face the winner of No. 4-seeded St. John and No. 5-seeded Rolette-Wolford on Friday in the semifinals. The tournament is being held at Langdon Area High School Gym. Langdon is the No. 2 seed.
Underwood and Turtle Lake-Mercer-McClusky are the top two seeds and receive a first-round bye into the semifinals of the District 10 tournament. The tournament begins at 6 p.m. Monday at Garrison High School. Garrison-Max is the No. 6 seed.
Tournament host and No. 1 seed Beulah has a first-round bye into the semifinals along with No. 2 seed Richardton-Taylor in the District 14 tournament. The tournament begins at 6 p.m. Friday.
Trinity Christian has both the No. 1 seed and homecourt advantage in the District 15 tournament. Watford City is the No. 2 seed. The tournament begins at 6 p.m. Monday.
Ray is the top seed and has a first-round bye along with No. 2-seeded Stanley in the District 16 tournament. The tournament begins at 6 p.m. Monday at Tioga High School.
If the Aggies advance, they will play the winner of Drake-Anamoose and Sawyer on Friday.
Bottineau (12-9-2, 7-0) defeated Velva in four games in its final district match on Oct. 11 to clinch the No. 1 seed.
"It's important for any team to get the No. 1 seed because you're giving yourself a better chance to get to the championship match, which is the ultimate goal in the district tournament," Bottineau coach Steve Dunrud said.
The Braves dropped just two games in their seven district matches, but Dunrud said his team won't overlook anybody.
"We started off with a young and inexperienced group," Dunrud said. "We try to remind them that we can't look at the past success we've had and that we have to pave our own way. Every team is out there trying to win."
If Bottineau defeats Dunseith in the first round, it would play the winner of Rugby and TGU. Both the Braves and the Aggies know what to expect if they meet in the championship.
"We're both tough," Terveen said. "They have some strong hitters and we have some strong blockers."
Said Dunrud: "They definitely have some good seniors on their team and it's at their gym, so I'm sure they're going to have a lot of people excited for them."
ORCS looks to remain unbeaten
The Our Redeemer's Christian School volleyball team believes it has the talent to make it to state for just the second time in program history, but there is still a lot of volleyball to be played before then.
First up for the top-seeded Knights (25-7-4, 7-0) is Surrey at 4 p.m. Friday at Kenmare High School. ORCS defeated the Mustangs in straight games on Oct. 11.
The Knights have plenty of experience with seniors Ashley Koppinger, Emily VanLith and Billie Bangen, along with junior Brooke Knutson. ORCS is no stranger to playing in big tournaments as the Knights finished runners-up in the Des Lacs-Burlington Laker Invitation.
Below ORCS in the bracket is cross-town rival and No. 4 seed Bishop Ryan (10-8-2, 4-3), which plays Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood in its first-round match. The Lions won a five-setter against the Mavericks on Oct. 4.
First-round victories by ORCS and Ryan would lead to a head-to-head match in the semifinals Monday. The Knights have won both games against the Lions this season.
Tournament host Kenmare is the No. 2 seed and will play seventh-seeded DL-B. No. 3-seeded Berthold and No. 6-seeded Glenburn's match rounds out the first round of the tournament.