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Kevin Schnepf, Published November 09 2010

North Dakota Class B, Region 1 volleyball tournament: Warbirds get guns firing

LIDGERWOOD, N.D. – Chris Swenson says his Wyndmere-Lidgerwood volleyball team has yet to play its best match.

That’s a bit scary considering the way the Warbirds played in Monday night’s opening round of the Class B Region 1 tournament. They left little doubt who the defending region champion is with their convincing 25-11, 25-17, 25-13 win over Northern Cass.

“We came out firing,” Swenson said of his team that built 18-6 leads in the first two sets.

“We were ready to go,” said junior setter Ashtin Wittenburg.

The Warbirds have been ready to go ever since last year’s state tournament where it settled for a consolation championship. They lost to eventual state champion Kenmare 3-2 in the opening round.

“That left us wanting it a little more,” Swenson said. “But there is a lot of volleyball to be played before the state tournament.”

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood will take a 30-5 record into tonight’s semifinals against Central Cass – a team the Warbirds split with during the regular season.

Swenson hopes his team’s serving keeps improving like it did Monday night with 11 service aces. And he hopes their passing gets better.

“I don’t think we have played our best match yet,” Swenson said. “And we’re going to have to have our best match for the rest of this tournament.”

Wittenburg, who led Wyndmere-Lidgerwood with 17 assists, agrees.

“We know we have a big target on our backs,” Wittenburg said. “But we know we can pull through.”

WYNDMERE-LIDGERWOOD (kills-blocks-aces): Skroch 14-0-4 (18 digs), Mauch 6-0-4 (14 digs), Wettstein 5-3-0, Hulm 0-3-0, Goerger 0-0-3, Wittenburg 0-0-0 (17 assists).

NORTHERN CASS: Johnson 3-0-0, Ward 2-1-2 (4 assists, 11 digs), Strauss 0-1-0, Erickson 0-0-0 (3 assists), Verwest 0-0-0 (13 digs), Burgad 0-0-0 (8 digs).

Central Cass 3, Milnor 1

Central Cass got its rematch with Wyndmere-Lidgerwood, but not without first holding off a pesky Milnor Bison squad.

Central Cass won final match of the opening round 25-14, 22-25, 25-23, 26-24.

“That was a little scary,” said Central Cass head coach Dana Stansbery. “We hadn’t played Milnor all year so we didn’t know what to expect.”

After cruising in the first set, Central Cass got all it could handle from Milnor. The Bison built a 21-11 lead in the second set before hanging on for a win. They erased a six-point deficit to 24-23 before losing the third set. They were serving with a 24-23 lead in the fourth set before Anna Morris’ kill ended the match.

“We quit playing defense,” Stansbery said. “And Milnor always plays excellent defense. They are quick.”

Central Cass will take a 34-8 record into tonight’s semifinal game against Wyndmere-Lidgerwood – a team they beat 3-0 on this same floor earlier this year. Wyndmere-Lidgerwood beat Central Cass during a Des Lacs-Burlington tournament.

“We match up well with them,” Stansbery said of Wyndmere-Lidgerwood. “It will be fun to see who comes out hitting.”

MILNOR (kills-blocks-aces): Tompkins 12-4-0, Sakry 9-0-0, Ellefson 7-0-0, Halvorson 7-1-5, McCloud 7-0-0 (27 digs), Knudsvig 0-1-0 (33 assists), Tayer 0-0-0, Weber 0-0-0 (28 digs).

CENTRAL CASS: Dixon 19-0-1, Morris 11-0-0, Weber 10-0-3, Kraft 5-3-0, Kost 0-3-0 (12 digs), Marschke 0-0-1 (16 assists, 9 digs), Voss 0-0-0 (28 assists), Camas 0-0-0 (12 digs).

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549.

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com