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KHS takes 3rd at State Volleyball
The Kenmare Honkers volleyball team rolled into post-season play under the slogan “Raise your expectations,” and rode that theme to a third place finish in the 2010 Class B state tournament.
The Kenmare Honkers, 2010 North Dakota Class B
State Volleyball Tournament Third Place Winners
By Caroline Downs
The Kenmare Honkers volleyball team rolled into post-season play under the slogan “Raise your expectations,” and rode that theme to a third place finish in the 2010 Class B state tournament.
The Honkers came off a disappointing semi-finals loss to Langdon on Friday and turned around to play Northwest Conference rival and Region 8 champion Stanley in the third place match on Saturday. Kenmare had topped the Blue Jays twice earlier in the season, but Stanley looked to avenge those losses on the state tournament court.
Honker fans filled nearly a section of seats behind their team at game time on a snowy afternoon. Both the crowd and team started quietly, although team host Steve Pinnow warmed up the fans with his trademark maroon towel swirling in time to the chant “Go, Honkers, go!” before the officials whistled for the first serve.
Kiah Bauer opened the match for Kenmare, with Katie King pounding down a kill in the Blue Jays’ back court for the first point. Bauer’s next serve went out of bounds, however, and then King’s hit landed outside the court boundary to give Stanley the 2-1 advantage. Kenmare ran a precision offense on the next play that ended in a King kill and a tie.
Stanley didn’t back down. With Lexie Munson at the serving line for Kenmare, the Honkers scored on two Blue Jays’ errors and an ace to go up 7-3. The Blue Jays blocked the next Honkers’ hit, but Kenmare scored again on a kill followed by an ace by King for the 9-4 margin. Three Honkers’ hits failed to meet their targets, though, as Stanley inched forward and then tied the contest at 11 before edging ahead by a point.
Kortni Miller launched another scoring run for Kenmare with a kill, followed by two hits from Halie Nelson that sandwiched a well-placed tip by King. The Blue Jays came back with three points, including an ace served by Karlie Hoherz. The two sides tied up three times before Kenmare scored on an out-of-bounds serve and then went on a run that included a Miller ace and a block by Ashley Barnhart and Erika Lemere. At 23-19, Stanley scored one more time on a hit by Chai Pappa, but Kenmare took the match 25-20 as the Blue Jays committed a net violation in their attempt to handle a Honkers hit.
The second set started in a similar, with King striking first for the Honkers and both sides answering point for point. Miller had a block for Kenmare, while Lemere and Nelson scored on kills. Shaunessy Dauwalder proved to be a threat for Stanley as she scored on four kills and a tip as the Blue Jays took a 10-9 lead. Kenmare’s Barnhart came back with a tip, and the Honkers scored three more in quick succession on a King-Nelson-King offensive plan.
The back-and-forth play continued with Kenmare adding points from a Miller block, a King kill and a trio of hits by Lemere followed by a Barnhart tip for a 20-19 lead. Chai Pappa had the Honkers’ number with her jump serve as she scored on a pair of aces, but Kenmare went ahead 22-19 on an ace from Lemere and a kill from Nelson.
The Blue Jays wanted the win, though, and Dauwalder scored on three kills to land her team at set point. When Nelson’s next hit attempt landed outside the court boundary, the Stanley players celebrated their 25-20 victory.
The Honkers’ loss motivated the Blue Jays even more as they jumped out to a 7-3 lead that grew to 14-7 on kills and blocks by Dauwalder and Hoherz, with an ace slammed by Chai Pappa. Kenmare rallied on a scoring run started by a Nelson kill. Barnhart served two points earned from Stanley errors, then Nelson scored again after two hits by King were returned. The Honkers pulled within two points at 12-14 as Barnhart served her own ace. Dauwalder had Nelson’s number for the block on the next volley, but Kenmare tied the score at 15 with a Lexie Munson hit from a King assist, followed by a King block. A miscommunication on the Blue Jays’ side let the ball drop to the floor as the Honkers took a 16-15 lead.
Jasmin Pappa took control of the set with a kill, followed by three consecutive aces served by Dauwalder. Stanley stretched their lead to 22-16 on a Jasmin Pappa hit and yet another Dauwalder jump-serve ace. King scored on a kill, but Jasmin Pappa responded with a well-placed tip that put the Blue Jays at game point. Lemere held up the game with a kill, followed by an ace from King, but King’s next kill attempt dropped out of bounds for the Blue Jay win at 25-20.
With the match and Honker pride at stake, the Kenmare team came out on fire in the fourth set, opening up an 8-3 lead on a pair of kills apiece by King and Miller, a King tip and a Munson ace, then widened the gap to 13-4 on a Barnhart/Lemere block on Jasmin Pappa, a Lemere backhanded tip, a King ace and a Miller kill.
The Honkers’ fans were excited, but Stanley wasn’t finished, and they fought back as Chai Pappa scored on two blocks and Dauwalder nailed a hit to cut Kenmare’s lead to 14-11. The Honkers picked up steam again on a Lemere ace and back-to-back hits by Nelson as her teammates dug up hits sent across the net. Barnhart scored on a strategic tip and Nelson found the mark again for a 21-12 Kenmare lead, but the Blue Jays had Nelson’s number by then and scored on two blocks. A King kill made the game 22-14, but Stanley called a time out and came back on the court with a strategy that netted them seven straight points, including an ace by Dauwalder.
At 22-20, the Honkers found their footing again, scoring on a kill, then giving up a point as Jasmin Pappa found a hole on the Kenmare side. Her next tip landed out of bounds, though, to give the Honkers set point advantage, which Miller hammered home with a kill for the 25-21 win.
Kenmare faced their first experience with a fifth set all year. After the lackluster start, the Honkers and their fans were on fire, starting with a King slam for the first point, followed by a Miller kill, two Lemere hits and a Barnhart kill. Stanley managed to inch forward, almost keeping pace with Kenmare at 5-6. The Honkers rolled onward with Lemere at the service line and Barnhart and Nelson combining for a series of kills, a block and a tip.
Dauwalder scored on two hits and Jasmin Pappa added one to reduce the margin to 13-10, still in Kenmare’s favor. At that point, KHS head coach Tim Wallstrum called his team together for a time-out.
When the Honkers returned to the court, they earned match point on a King kill, gave up a final point to Stanley on a missed hit, then claimed the third place trophy on a King hit that punctuated the win.
“I always worry about the third place game,” Coach Wallstrum said. “They’re the toughest games to play. A couple of our girls had a harder time today, but once they got going, that made a big difference.”
He joked about calling more timeouts for his team than usual. “I have to pry them, I have to threaten them, I have to beg them,” he said. “I have to keep telling them it’s better to go out with a win. In five years here, we’ve taken first twice, second once and third twice. That’s not a bad record!”
He noted the Blue Jays’ height and improved passing skills over the season, as well as their hitting abilities, and said he expected them to return as favorites to the state court next season. “The big difference for them is, their whole team is back,” he said. “They don’t lose anybody next year.”
Pulling together for the victory against Stanley proved to be one of Kenmare’s toughest challenges in the season. “There were those of us who wanted it really badly,” Nelson said. “All of us were upset after losing [the semi-final match] to Langdon, so we wanted third place. Looking around today, we knew we needed a team effort, and that’s when you know you need to step it up.”
Barnhart recognized that some of her teammates were taking the loss to Langdon hard. “So the rest of us had to get over it,” she said. “Stanley had improved a lot from the beginning of the year.”
Nelson shook her head. “Shaunessy [Dauwalder], her block was killing me!” she said.
The state tournament was Barnhart’s second appearance as a player, and the first for Nelson, who was happy to see her team take the third place trophy. “I was excited,” she said. “I had a lot of fun here. It’s what you play for all year.”
Bauer, who was fighting a cold and laryngitis on the final day, agreed. “It feels good to end the year with a win,” she said. “[The Honkers] never gave up, and still fought as hard as they could to finish.”
Munson, who played her first state tournament matches last year as a freshman on the championship team, said the third place games had a different feeling to them. “But we wanted to be intense,” she said.
She said her teammates had to serve-receive and pass well against the Stanley offense. “When we get control of the ball, we always do well,” she said. “So after a couple of errors, we had to calm down and get ourselves back up to go again.”
King looked back at the match that could have resulted in a loss for the Honkers, and credited her teammates with stepping up their play. “I don’t think everyone was pumped up for it,” she said.
“The turning point came after we lost the second and third sets. We knew we needed to pull through. Coach Wallstrum always tells us, ‘It’s in your hands.’ We could have given up, but we wanted a win.”
King saw several of her hardest hits for the day blocked or dug up by the Blue Jays, and knew she was a target, which allowed other Honkers, especially Nelson, to surprise Stanley with kills from a different direction. “They watch me and expect the set to me,” King said. “We don’t know who will get set, but they key on me to block.”
She continued by saying the other Kenmare hitters take the pressure off her. “On the court, we help each other out,” she said, “like having good hitters up front, having another threat.”
As team host, Pinnow described his time with Honkers as fantastic and laughed about his swirling towel antics. “I don’t ever start a tournament without the colors going, but I hit Lexie once with my elbow!” he said. “I have so many people harassing me because I’m an Our Redeemer’s fan, but I know these girls and I’ve known Tim [Wallstrom] for years.”
Pinnow admitted he had always been the kind of person to cheer for others, including his college days at Dickinson State on the cross country team. “It was fun to be a Honker for the weekend,” he said. “They really did accept me!”
In Saturday’s other action, Langdon defeated Linton-HMB 3-0 with set scores of 25-21, 25-18 and 25-14 in the title match. Central Cass earned fifth place in a 3-1 victory over Beach with set scores of 13-25, 25-14, 25-23 and 25-16, and Park River-Fordville-Lankin took seventh place with a 3-0 sweep of New Salem-Almont with set scores of 25-17, 25-20 and 26-24.
Kenmare’s Katie King was selected as the Senior Player of the Year for Class B schools in the state.
King was also named to the 2010 Class B All-State Team, along with Ashley Koppinger of Our Redeemer’s Christian School, Whitney Page of Bottineau, Jasmin Pappa and ReeAnn Mehus of Stanley, Brittany Dietz of Beach, Payton Borud of Hazen, Megan Battest of Beulah, Whitney Sponsler of Thompson, Sydney Larson of Park River-F-L, McKenzie Hart of Langdon, Mikkaela Toenies of Hillsboro, Sheyenne Schneider of Harvey, Paula Nagel and Kayln Schneider of Linton-HMB, and Moriah Skroch of Wyndmere-Lidgerwood.
King and Lexie Munson of Kenmare were selected to the 2010 Class B All-Tournament Team, along with Shaunessy Dauwalder and Jasmin Pappa of Stanley, McKenzie Hart, Breanna Mack and Mercedes Stein of Langdon, Kalyn Schneider and Robin Weber of Linton-HMB, Anna Morris of Central Cass, and Sydney Larson of Park River-F-L.
Semi-finals battle with Langdon
Friday night’s semi-finals match against Langdon pitted two teams with similar rosters, records and playing styles against each other. Honkers fans came out in full force to support their team, filling two and a half sections of seats and sporting plenty of maroon and gold attire. In the end, though, Kenmare finished with their second loss of the season as Langdon advanced to the finals on a 3-1 win.
The evening looked promising as the Honkers opened with one of King’s trademark kills. Shannon Overby responded with a hit of her own for the Cardinals, but Kenmare ran up a 4-1 lead on another kill from King, an ace by Nelson and a Miller tip, while the Honkers crowd roared. Langdon didn’t lay down, however, and scored five quick points that included an Abbey Braaten hit, an ace from Julie Dinius and blocks thrown up against King and Miller.
The set continued, with points earned on both sides. King and Lemere scored on hits, with a tip from Barnhart. With the score tied at 11, Barnhart jumped at the net to slap down a ball and give her team the lead. When Lemere scored the next point with a kill, the Honker reserves and coaches were off the bench cheering.
Kenmare took a 16-11 lead with that run, only to watch the Cardinals come back with a six-point run of their own. From that point, the game inched forward, with each team answering point for point. Lemere fired an ace, Munson surprised Langdon with a kill from the front row, and King powered a hit from the back row, then added two back-to-back kills for the 23-21 lead.
The Cardinals used a timeout and returned to the court to score on hit by McKenzie Hart, then a block against King. With the score tied at 23, Kenmare called a timeout, but Langdon took the set by throwing another block against King, followed by another kill from Hart.
Motivated from the win, Langdon made short work of the Honkers in the second set, winning 25-11 as Kenmare followed their usual form and started slowly in their second game. The Cardinals had a 12-5 lead on kills from Hart and Dinius and aces from Overby and Hart.
Trailing 6-14, Kenmare took a timeout and returned to the court for a string of points, including back-to-back kills from Miller and a pair by King. But the 11-16 margin proved to be the closest Kenmare would come as Langdon went on to score eight points for the 25-11 win as the Honkers struggled to serve-receive and place their hits.
The tables turned in the next set as Kenmare ran up a 9-5 lead, starting with a block and two kills by King, followed by an ace from King sandwiched between hits by Miller and Lemere. The Cardinals battled their way up the scoreboard, but stayed two or three points back through the entire set despite challenging Kenmare with digs and hits on every play.
In the meantime, Barnhart energized the crowd with a kill on the line, then a kill at the net. Nelson scored on a well-placed push and King slammed down a hit as her teammates set up the offense. Braaten and Hart worked hard to keep the Cardinals in the game, but their points were negated by two more kills by King and a tip by Lemere.
The match was on the line for Langdon, but Kenmare refused to roll over and held the lead while fans on both sides of the court encouraged their teams at top volume. With Kenmare ahead 22-19, the Cardinals called a timeout and returned to score their final point on an Overby kill, but Kenmare took control after that with a Nelson kill. The Honkers earned game point as one of Overby’s hits flew out of bounds, and King sealed the deal with a kill that delighted the Honkers crowd.
Both teams refocused for the next set, which saw more back-and-forth action at the net. King scored the first three points for Kenmare on kills, followed by a Lemere hit, but Hart earned points for Langdon on two kills and an ace, followed by a pair of kills from Braaten. The Honkers trailed 6-10, then came back to score on four kills by King and an ace fired by Nelson. The Cardinals scored as Munson missed a tip, but Miller slammed down the next point for a 13-11 Kenmare margin.
The scores inched forward, one or two points for Kenmare, one or two for Langdon as both sides matched each other in digs, passes and kill attempts, only to start the whole process over as the volleys continued. The Honkers took a 19-17 lead on a Nelson kill, followed by a Nelson push, punctuated by a pair of King hits.
Overby got wise for the Cardinals and scored on a pair of tips that dropped into the Honkers’ midst, but King and Miller kept Kenmare moving ahead on kills. Hart tied the game at 21, then a missed Langdon serve tied the score again at 22, but the Cardinals regrouped and took the next three points at 25-22 for the set, match and opportunity to play in the 2010 championship round.
Kenmare fans were just as disappointed as the players, but the crowd stood for their team, refusing to leave until the Honkers congratulated their opponents and exited the court themselves.
The performance of both teams was outstanding. “That was a good, hard-fought contest,” Wallstrum said after the match. “We just didn’t pass the ball as well as we normally do.”
“We struggled with our passing,” Barnhart said. “We talked about all their players and how they matched up with us, and we knew we had to play straight up.”
“It could very easily have gone either way,” Nelson added. “A missed serve can make the difference.”
In Friday’s other semi-finals match, Linton-HMB edged Stanley 3-2 with set scores of 20-25, 25-16, 26-24, 19-25 and 15-11. In the consolation matches, Beach swept New Salem-Almont 3-0 with set scores of 25-13, 25-15 and 25-18, and Central Cass rallied to top Park River-F-L 3-2 with set scores of 24-26, 22-25, 28-26, 27-25 and 15-6.
Honkers sweep Bucs
to open at State
Kenmare fans turned out in full force for the opening match against Beach on Thursday. Students out of school and parents and neighbors taking some time from work dressed in their finest maroon and gold attire, complete with several gold wigs. The team’s classmates sported black and white hats and maroon sunglasses for the event, and worked hard to support their Honkers from their seats under the giant-sized “Raise Your Expectations” poster.
New to the Honkers’ side of the court was team host Steve Pinnow, replacing Selmer Flom who was still present for the Kenmare girls. “I know all the fans, and there’s a lot of excitement,” Pinnow said. “It’s fun to be cheering for the Kenmare Honkers. In fact, the girls just told me, ‘Yell loud, Mr. Pinnow!’”
Not much was known about the Region 7 champions, but Kenmare went to work early on a 13-3 lead as kill after kill was pounded down by King, Nelson, Miller and Lemere. Jill Rising and LaCee Vollum worked to keep the Buccaneers in contention, but Barnhart scored on three hits and a tip, with a Nelson kill thrown in for good measure.
King and Munson combined for a block with a lead of 20-9. Brittney Dietz added four points on kills for Beach, but the effort was too little too late. Kenmare rolled to a 25-13 win as King and Lemere slammed down hits and King fired an ace.
The second set proved to be a repeat of the first, as Honkers tallied points on two kills from King, two kills from Nelson, a pair of aces by Munson, a Lemere tip and a King block for an 8-3 lead before the Bucs knew what had happened. Vollum, Dietz, Dani Weinreis and Kiffin Howard managed to hit the mark with kills for their side, but Miller and Barnhart added hits of their own and Lemere popped an ace over the net.
Kenmare’s hits kept coming from King, Nelson and Miller, with Nelson also scoring on a bump to the Bucs’ back row. At 24-15, Lemere sealed the set victory with another ace.
The third set was played more evenly, with the score tied twice at 10 and then 14 points as Beach pulled out all the stops. King, Nelson, Barnhart and Miller played well off Munson’s sets, however, and the Honkers’ blocking game proved effective. At 19-15, the Honkers took control, starting on a pair of King kills, then a King ace and a Miller kill. A Bucs error put Kenmare at set and match point, and Miller claimed the win on an ace, just as her teammates had in the previous two sets.
“We had a good game plan, and it worked,” Miller said. “We covered the right spots for the most part. They’re a good team with strong hitters, and they made us pass the ball.”
She acknowledged her teammate’s enthusiastic level of play on the state court. “This is what we were practicing for, what we worked for,” she said. “We’re really excited to be here, and we played well as a team. Everyone did a good job!”
Lemere agreed with her senior classmate. “It’s get-serious time now, but we still have fun,” she said. “We’ve been waiting for this, and we decided we weren’t going to let down in the second game.”
“That was a lot of fun, although I felt like it was three hours!” Barnhart said.
She praised Munson’s setting abilities in the match. “Lexie was flying out everywhere, which helps us get those hustle points. If we can serve-receive, from there we’re pretty good.”
Coach Wallstrum said he had managed to watch some video of the Beach team prior to the state tournament. “We knew they had their two middle hitters,” he said, “and we knew they would block well. We focused on our serving and taking away their best hits.”
He smiled as he talked about his team’s quick reflexes on the court that night. “We picked balls out of chairs,” he said. “That’s intensity. They came to play. We talked about getting that first game. That’s the most important one.”
In Thursday’s other action, Langdon beat New Salem-Almont 3-0 with set scores of 25-8, 25-8 and 25-21, Linton-HMB swept Park River-F-L with set scores of 25-23, 25-20 and 26-24, and Stanley edged out Central Cass 3-2 with set scores of 25-20, 23-25, 24-26, 26-24 and 15-10.
Setting up the offense . . . Lexie Munson sets up her teammates for the kill,
with (l-r) Erika Lemere, Katie King and Kortni Miller making the rush.
In the back, Ashley Barnhart and Halie Nelson prepare to dig up any balls
returned by the Blue Jays as the two Northwest Conference rivals battle
each other for third place at the 2010 Class B tournament. Kenmare topped
Stanley for the third time this season, winning the contest 3-2.