Defending state champion Central Cass fell in the Region 1 tournament, but Kindred is ensuring the region is well-represented.
The Vikings swept Linton-HMB (25-13, 25-23, 25-15) on Friday in a state tournament semifinal at the Minot State University Dome. Kindred advances to the state-title match in its first-ever tournament appearance and will play Langdon tonight at 8.
Senior outside hitter and University of North Dakota commit Kellie Schmit made life difficult for the Lions, dissecting their defense with ferocious spikes, well-timed tips and powerful serves. Schmit led the team with 18 kills, eight digs and seven aces.
Kindred senior Casey Allmaras (8) and junior Tessa Heitkamp move into position to block a kill attempt by Linton-HMB sophomore Jadyn Gefroh during a Class B state-tournament semifinal Friday at the Minot State University Dome.
"She's the real deal," Linton coach Jaime Richter said. "She's a phenomenal player. There's a reason she signed at UND. Right when we think she's going to spike the ball, she tips a shot on us. She's hard to stop."
The Vikings were ready to play early, jumping out to a 9-3 lead in the first set. Schmit recorded the first two kills of the match for Kindred before her teammates joined the offense. Seven different Vikings recorded a kill in the opening set, including three by junior outside hitter Alexandra Erickson, as Kindred took the first set easily.
"We knew that (Linton's) blockers would be tracking me and we knew that our other hitters would have to take swings," Schmit said. "They did and they scored."
The Lions fought back in the second set, matching the Vikings point for point. Kindred's serving proved to be the difference, as Schmit recorded three aces in the set. She also added seven kills.
"Linton did a really good job of taking away some of our options," Kindred coach Brooks Dockter said. "They blocked (Schmit) pretty well early, but she made up for it on the service line."
After controlling the match early with the spike, the Vikings started to move away from that strategy in the second set by attempting more tip shots. While successful at times, it allowed the Lions to get into a rhythm offensively and take a 22-20 lead in the second game.
"In the second game we got a little timid and we started tipping too much," Schmit said. "We started getting aggressive again and got the game to go in our favor. We tried to mix it up so that they didn't know what we were going to do next."
The Vikings won five of the final six points in the game to take a commanding two-set lead.
The Lions stuck with Kindred early in the third set with strong play from sophomore outside hitter Nicole Nieuwsma and sophomore middle blocker Jadyn Gefroh, but Schmit took over down the stretch. Leading 14-11, Schmit led an 11-4 run with four kills and an ace to end the match.
"Our game is to take swings and Linton did a nice job of taking away some of that and exploiting some of our weaknesses," Dockter said. "But I think our kids did a really good job of battling back. We came back in the third set after a tough second set and put it away."
Linton plays Park River-Fordville-Lankin in the third-place match today at 2 p.m.