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Glenn Pursley , Published November 11 2013

Vikings win four-setter at ND Class B, Region 1 volleyball tournament

KINDRED, N.D. – Kindred got a taste of victory after winning last year’s Region 1 volleyball tournament, and on Monday the Vikings took a step toward defending their title.

The tandem of middle hitter Tessa Heitkamp and outside hitter Alexandra Erickson combined for 23 kills to lead the Vikings to a 25-17, 25-23, 28-30, 25-21 win over Hankinson in the first round of the North Dakota Class B, Region 1 volleyball tournament at Kindred High School.

“They are my two captains, and they really lead the team on and off the court,” said Vikings head coach Kelsey Peterson. “We’ve been working a lot on having them swinging big and not soften their game up at all. They did a really good job at controlling their hits.”

The Pirates gave up a five-point lead in Set 3, but thanks to an outstanding effort from outside hitter Elizabeth Asp – who finished with six kills and two aces – they were able to rally back to win 30-28 and force a fourth set.

“It was a nail-bitter,” said Peterson. “The third one was tough, but we just had to find our control and find our tempo again.”

And that’s just what the Vikings did.

A pair of kills from Erickson and a hard-hit ball to open court from Sierra Graff in Set 4 closed out the match and secured a spot in today’s semifinals against Northern Cass at 6 p.m.

The Vikings breezed through Set 1 thanks to a pair of aces from Rachel Hall and three kills from Erickson.

Erickson picked up five more kills in Set 2 to finish with 12, and Heitkamp added four and finished with 11 kills and a block.

“I just told them to stay confident, stay strong,” Erickson said after the loss in Set 3. “I feel that we didn’t play to our best ability today, but we managed to fight back and stay confident.”

Northern Cass 3, Lisbon 0

KINDRED, N.D. – If winning an opening-round match of the regional tournament isn’t enough, try setting a personal best in the process.

That sums up the night for Brianna Olson of Northern Cass.

Olson recorded eight aces and two kills to pace the Jaguars to 3-0 win over Lisbon on Monday in the3 Region 1 tournament.

“It feels awesome. We all stepped up to the plate today.” Olson said. “We had good chemistry. There were a couple points that we fell apart, but we pushed through and finished it.”

Olson’s stellar performance from the service line, paired with Vanessa Johnson’s 19 kills, helped Northern Cass beat the Broncos 25-13, 25-10, 25-23.

“The passes were there so the sets were on, and when that’s all on, we can’t be stopped,” Johnson said. “We’ve been doing really well this season.”

The Broncos, led by Mattie Olson with four kills, carried a two-point lead the majority of the third set. Shelby Musland had two kills to push the Broncos up 23-19.

With their eyes on the prize and determined not to go to four sets, the Jaguars struck back.

Olson would pick up her sixth, seventh and eighth aces, and Paige Verwest collected three of her four kills to lead Northern Cass on a 6-0 run to close out the match.

The Jaguars face Kindred today at 6 p.m.

“The first two (sets), I think you kind of see when the offense gets rolling they’re pretty good,” Jaguars head coach Tom Klapp said. “We have pretty good offense when things are going well. We haven’t faced Kindred since early in the season, so it’ll be interesting.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5549