FARGO — Minot Our Redeemer's got challenged in the second set of the state quarterfinals Thursday at the Fargodome, and the No. 2 seed responded.
The Knights rallied for victory in the second set en route to a 25-13, 28-26, 25-18 victory against Dickinson Trinity to advance to the semifinals of the North Dakota Class B state volleyball tournament.
"I think that second set was really important," said Our Redeemer's senior middle hitter Annie Folden, who had a match-high 20 kills. "They really pushed our limits."
The Knights (40-3-2) are set to play at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, in the semifinals. Our Redeemer's is making its six consecutive appearance in the state tournament.
"I think experience always brings more confidence," said Our Redeemer's head coach Kara Nunziato. "These girls have played in a lot of big moments, whether it be this season or the season before."
Folden also thinks that previous state tournament seasoning is helpful.
"Experience means a lot," said Folden, who has played in three state tournaments and was also on the varsity as a freshman. "It really helps me know how to play in tight moments and in a big environment that I'm not used to."
Trinity took a 21-19 lead in the second set after a kill from junior middle hitter Amaya Willer, who led her team with 14 kills. The Knights, who trailed 6-1 earlier in the second, countered with three of the next four points. Folden had back-to-back kills to tie the score at 22-22.
The Titans took a 24-23 lead after a kill from junior hitter Abby Kubas. Folden answered with a kill that tied the score at 24-24, fending off a Trinity set point.
"I think I do really well under pressure," Folden said. "It's something that I like to work under pressure. It really motivates me and helps me put the ball away."
Junior defensive specialist Kendal Braun closed out the match for the Knights, with a serve that Trinity couldn't handle. Our Redeemer's took the second set 28-26 and grabbed a 2-0 lead in the match.
"Winning the second set was imperative in terms of how we finished today's match," Nunziato said. "I think it was good for the girls to step up and play with a point deficit."
Folden said the Knights didn't do anything special to rally in that second set.
"We just calmed down and played how we always do," Folden said. "Making adjustments in those times I don't think are as good because you need to play how you always do."
The Knights rode that momentum into the third set and raced to a 12-4 lead. Folden had three kills during that early surge that helped vault Our Redeemer's to a sweep. The Knights finished of the match with a 25-18 victory in the third set.
The 6-foot Folden also had strong match serving, finishing with seven aces.
"I feel like I was really good at serving today," Folden said. "That's something I try to practice a lot."
Sophomore outside hitter Cheyenne Lang added seven kills, 13 digs and one ace for the Knights.
"It's just about getting comfortable," Nunziato said. "The first day is being in a new space, big area, and just acclimating quicker."
Minot Our Redeemer's def. Dickinson Trinity 25-13, 28-26, 25-18
TRINITY (kills-blocks-aces): Decker 8-3-0, Erie 1-0-0 (16 digs), Kessel 1-1-0, A. Kubas 8-3-2, Ka. Kubas 1-0-1, Ky. Kubas 2-0-0, Am Willer 14-1-0, As. Willer 0-0-2.
OUR REDEEMER'S: Boeckel 1-0-1 (13 digs), Folden 20-0-7, Lindquist 7-0-1 (13 digs), Nelson 0-2-0, Olson 5-0-0, Popinga 1-0-0.