It was a bittersweet moment for Madison Wendel and Carrington's other three seniors after the Cardinals defeated Stanley in four sets to claim third place at the Class B state volleyball tournament.
On one hand, the seniors ended their careers with one final victory. On the other, it was the last time they got to put on the maroon and white jerseys.
"Getting third place and going to state makes it so much more sweet," Wendel said.
Carrington senior middle blocker Madison Wendel, foreground, digs a ball beside classmate Jacey Englhorn on Saturday at the Minot State University Dome. The Cardinals beat Stanley 3-1 to place third in Class B.
Senior Kayla Hochhalter put the bow on fourth-seeded Carrington's best season in program history with her 13th kill of the match in the 25-21, 25-21, 17-25, 25-17 victory against the Blue Jays (33-12) on Saturday at the Minot State University Dome. Wendel recorded a match-high 14 kills and the seniors combined for 39 kills, seven blocks, five aces and 42 digs in their final match.
"I love the seniors," Carrington coach Sharon Boehmer said. "I love all the girls on the team and our seniors, we said from the get-go that they were the nucleus of this team and they could make this happen with our leadership and their experience."
Wendel an all-state selection had the arduous task of going up against Stanley middle blocker Chai Pappa, the state senior athlete of the year. The two were matched up on opposite sides of the net and frequently blocked each other. Pappa had five blocks and Wendel recorded four.
"(Chai's) a great player and I'm just thankful I was able to play against her," Wendel said. "Going up there, there were some blocks that hit off my arm that hurt, but I think it was a great experience."
The 6-foot Wendel and the Cardinals (31-8) limited Pappa to 10 kills, well below her average from the first two matches. Pappa recorded just two kills in the fourth set and did the majority of her damage from the service line. She tallied three consecutive aces early in the fourth game and finished with a match-high five.
An ace by Hochhalter gave Carrington the lead for good at 11-10. The Blue Jays stayed close, pulling back to within one each time they went on a mini-run. Carrington finally found some breathing room late as kills by senior Page Anderson and Hochhalter and an ace by junior setter Brooke Rosenau pushed its lead to 19-16.
The Cardinals scored the match's final six points.
"It was an awesome way to end the season," Boehmer said. "We couldn't ask for better, coming in fourth to finish third. We'll take it because, coming in fourth, it's always good to finish higher than you're seeded."
The Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood volleyball team shined all season in five-setters and the Mavericks did once again in the fifth-place match against Thompson.
M-L-S completed its first state tournament trip with a victory over the No. 2-seeded Tommies, ending the match on a 10-1 run. Senior middle blocker Alex Mott had three kills during that stretch and classmate Sierra Smith ended it with her fifth kill of the match for the 22-25, 25-7, 25-19, 8-25, 15-9 victory.
Thompson took the opening set before the Mavericks scored the first 10 points of the second game. Junior outside hitter Callie Carlson recorded four kills and two blocks in that span and Mott tallied three consecutive kills to balloon the lead to 17-3.
"That second set my girls just turned it on," M-L-S coach Culynn Solloway said. "They were awake and they were ready to go. They had their chance to see how Thompson plays."
Carlson and Mott combined for 30 kills and six blocks.
Thompson was dealt an emotional blow when it lost senior middle blocker Averi Olson to a right knee injury late in the second set. Olson had two kills and a block before the injury. She didn't return.
The Mavericks again jumped on the Tommies in the third set, scoring the first six points. Thompson fought back, cutting the deficit to one seven times before tying the game at 18. M-L-S retook the lead on the next point and closed the set on a 7-1 run.
"I give them a lot of credit sticking with it through Averi's injury," Thompson coach Lisa Strand said. "She's a big part of our team and it's hard to lose her like that. They care about each other and they feel for her."
Thompson forced the deciding fifth set with a dominant performance in the fourth. Senior setter McKenna DeMoe recorded four aces and the Tommies scored 10 of the final 11 points.
"We knew those girls we going to come back and they were going to come back fierce," Solloway said. "They came back a little harder than we were expecting, but I thought the girls did a good job of handling it."
M-L-S' fifth-place finish marks the third consecutive consolation championship for Region 6. Kenmare defeated Hatton-Northwood in 2011 and Our Redeemer's Christian School bested Flasher last year.
Beulah 3, Grant County 2
Playing in the seventh-place match wasn't
something the Beulah volleyball team hoped for entering the state tournament, but the Miners accomplished what only three other Class B teams get to experience: a last-match victory.
Beulah junior outside hitter Jaime Murschel recorded a match-high 27 kills and classmate Delaney Johansen tallied 17 in the 25-20, 17-25, 25-17, 13-25, 15-7 victory over Grant County on Saturday. Murschel finished the tournament with a team-high 51 kills.
It was the second time in three seasons the Miners and Coyotes met in the seventh-place match. Grant County played its first five-setter in six state tournament matches, but is still seeking its first victory.
Junior middle blocker Sydney Bentz had 26 of Grant County's 41 kills.