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LaMoure-LM first to win three straight Class B volleyball titles

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FARGO -- Laurie Good saw a strong volleyball future as LaMoure-Litchville-Marion’s current players were starting in the sport.

But even the Loboes coach has been taken by surprise.

LaMoure-L-M became the first program to win three consecutive North Dakota Class B state high school volleyball tournaments Saturday in the Fargodome. The Loboes swept Thompson 25-10, 25-12, 25-14 in the championship for the three-peat.

“Who would have thought this would happen,’’ Good said. “I knew there was a lot of talent in this group when they were younger. But you never expect this. You never anticipate anything like this.’’

Good had a long-range looking back. Senior Anna Holen was a bit surprised by Saturday’s domination.

“You never expect to 3-0 somebody in the state championship,’’ said Holen, who was named Class B senior player of the year. “But we were ready.’’

The Loboes came out and scored the initial four points en route to a 12-4 lead in the first set. Thompson got no closer than seven the rest of the way.

In the second set, Thompson took its only lead by scoring the initial point. The Tommies stayed close until L-M-M put away the win with a 9-0 run that included three Ellie Holen service aces for a 21-10 lead.

“The kids really came out on a mission,’’ said Good, who was named Class B coach of the year. “Thompson has a great defensive team. I didn’t expect 3-0. But the girls were so focused.’’

The final set was close until Kindra Hamlin served an 8-0 run for an 18-9 lead. The powerful-hitting Anna Holen had four consecutive kills at one stretch in the spurt.

“We were shell-shocked at the beginning,’’ Thompson coach Lisa Strand said. “They came out so strong. We lost our focus. We didn’t pass as well as we are capable. So the sets weren’t there for us and the swings weren’t there. We gave them too many free balls. They had too much firepower. And everything they did today was on.’’

The Loboes had significant advantages in kills (37-23) and service aces (9-1).

Anna Holen’s 15 kills led the Loboes. Hamlin added nine kills and a match-high 20 digs. Jackie Meiklejohn had 31 assists.

“I don’t think we felt any pressure this year,’’ Meiklejohn said. “We didn’t focus on the three-peat. It was always there. But we had to win to get to this point. Our focus was always the next match.

“There has been so much talk about (three straight titles). But we didn’t concentrate on it. We handled the pressure.’’

Taylor Zak led Thompson’s offense with seven kills and three blocks, with Carrie Nistler adding five kills. Jordyn Bohlman had 14 assists.

“We knew we were the underdogs, but we felt we were capable of giving them a fight,’’ Strand said. “We’re disappointed right now. We would have liked to have had a stronger showing. But there’s nothing disgraceful about second at state.’’

LaMoure-L-M finished the season with a 44-1 record. Thompson closed at 34-7.