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Greg DeVillers / Forum Communications Co., Published November 08 2012

Park River-Fordville-Lankin advances to state for third time in four years

By Greg DeVillers

Forum Communications Co.

NORTHWOOD, N.D. – Another match, another one-set deficit. For Park River-Fordville-Lankin, it was been there, done that.

The Aggies rallied twice to defeat Hatton-Northwood 19-25, 25-22, 14-25, 25-19, 15-10 on Thursday night in the championship of the North Dakota Class B, Region 2 high school volleyball tournament.

While eliminating the defending region-champion Thunder, Park River-F-L qualified for next week’s Class B state tournament for the third time in the past four seasons.

While Park River-Fordville-Lankin twice was down a set, it wasn’t panic time.

“That’s how we’ve been in tournaments,” said Aggies coach Sherry Currie, whose team has overcome one-set deficits in three of its six district and region matches. “The girls have been in this situation. I knew they wouldn’t roll over and quit.”

Said senior Kirsten Johnson: “We try not to get down on ourselves. It’s pretty hard not to sometimes, though, when you’re behind.”

The Aggies were down three early in the fifth set, and the teams were tied at 10 before PR-F-L closed on a 5-0 run. A Morgan Porter block put the Aggies up 11-10, then Sadie Vold scored on a kill.

“That’s the one I remember,” Johnson said. “She put a really good hit down the line. That really got us going.”

PR-F-L closed out the match with two points on H-N hitting errors sandwiched around a kill.

Johnson was the big scorer for the Aggies, pacing the team with 20 kills and four service aces. She was at her best late, with four kills in the fourth game and five kills plus a service ace in the fifth set.

“We weren’t closing our blocks and (Johnson) started putting the ball down hard,” Thunder coach Cydnee Strand said. “And they were picking up everything we put down at the end.”

The Thunder had swept opponents in four of their previous five postseason matches. But, this time, “we had too many mistakes,” Strand said. “We were putting too many balls into the net. We struggled some on serve receive. That was our downfall.”

Vold added nine kills and a team-high three blocks for the Aggies, with Morgan Porter and Carly Myrdal each getting seven kills. Myrdal also had 12 assists.

Currie said a switch in alignments in Set 4 also made a difference, with Myrdal and Kendal Slebodnik picking up the back-row defense.

PRFL (kills-blocks-aces): Myrdal 7-0-1, Swartz 4-1-0 (21 assists), Vold 9-3-0, Johnson 20-0-4, Lehar 7-1-1, Welch 0-0-0, Porter 7-2-0.

HN: Thompson 8-1-0, Pladson 8-1-1, Hedland 16-0-0, Johnson 11-2-1, Schwartz 4-0-2 (41 assists).

Thompson def. Cavalier 25-10, 25-10, 25-22

C: Helgoe 5-0-2, Lafferty 4-1-0, Carrier 3-0-0, Hartz 3-0-0, Longtin 0-0-2 (8 assists).

T: Galegher 9-3-0, DeMoe 4-1-4 (17 assists), Ivesdal 2-1-3, Shimek 3-1-3, Schmitz 4-1-0.

Region 2 senior athlete of the year: Kirsten Johnson, Park River-Fordville-Lankin.

Region 2 coach of the year: Cydnee Strand, Hatton-Northwood.

DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald