Seven seniors played their final home match in a Bishop Ryan volleyball uniform Tuesday.
Fittingly, it was a senior - outside hitter Brieann Backes - that recorded the final kill in the Lions' sweep of Beulah in a non-district match on Senior Night at Bishop Ryan.
The Lions (31-6) took advantage of a number of Beulah miscues to pull away from the Region 7 opponent en route to the 25-14, 25-22, 25-20 victory. Senior Anika Rovig finished with a team-high 14 assists and classmate Shelby Schmidt tallied 15 digs in their final regular-season match.
Bishop Ryan junior middle hitter Gabbie Bohl swings as Beulah seniors Lakin Kessler (3) and Nicole Schramm (8) attempt a block Tuesday at Bishop Ryan.
"Every game means a lot, but it's kind of bittersweet knowing it's your last home game," Rovig said. "You just want to go out with all you have."
Ryan and Beulah traded points early in the first set before the Miners struggled to keep the ball in play. The Miners surrendered 14 points to Ryan in the opening set wwith errant shots, service errors and net violations. With Beulah's errors, Ryan's 11-9 lead ballooned to a 21-12 advantage. Bohl closed out the game with her third kill..
The trend continued in the second set as the Lions recorded their first three points via Beulah miscues. The Miners (20-12) regrouped behind the play of junior Jaime Murschel. The 5-foot-8 outside hitter tallied two kills and a block in succession to pull within a point. Murschel finished with a team-high 14 kills.
Ryan led by a point six times early in the set before Beulah grabbed a 10-9 lead. The Miners took their largest lead of the set at 13-10 before Rovig tallied three of her five kills in a four-point span to tie the match at 14.
"We knew it's that time of the season where we have to peak and play hard and that's what we did," Rovig said. "We communicated really well and we got excited for each other."
Bohl and junior outside hitter Hannah Stewart took over from there. The 6-2 juniors recorded five of Ryan's final six kills of the game. The Lions closed out the second set on Beulah's fifth service error of the match.
"We did some good things, but I thought we weren't very efficient with the ball," Beulah coach Kevin Peterson said. "Instead of sticking to our game plan, I think we just veared off it a little bit and they made us pay."
The Miners' attempt to prolong the match was thwarted by Bohl and Stewart in the third set. The duo accounted for eight kills, a block and an ace in the final game. Bohl finished with a match-high 15 kills and Stewart recorded eight.
The final two kills of the match came from the senior class. Rovig made it 23-17 and a short time after, Backes closed out Ryan's regular season with a kill down the right side of the court.
"I've had all of them since they were freshmen and I would not trade them in for anybody," Ryan coach Kaycee Grochow said. "I love every one of them and I'm so grateful that I got to coach them."
The Lions are the No. 3 seed in the District 12 tournament in Mohall and play sixth-seeded Kenmare on Friday in the first round. Beulah hosts Glen Ullin-Hebron at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics, the Minot State University men's club hockey team and the Minot Minotauros. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.