Despite twice battling back from down a game to tie its match with Mandan on Tuesday, the Minot High School volleyball team again failed to collect its first West Region win.
Errors and net violations plagued the Majettes (4-6 overall, 0-3 West region) in the fifth game of a 25-14, 21-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-10 defeat.
The Braves scored 10 of the first 16 points to establish breathing room and Minot never shrunk the deficit below three points the rest of the fifth game.
"We just kept digging holes for ourselves," MHS coach Ellen Jebens said. "Right off the beginning, we kept going down five, six points and it's hard to recover in a 15-point game when you do that. We just made more mistakes than they did."
Minot entered the fourth game needing to win to extend the match. The Majettes built a 17-10 fourth-game lead that disappeared after Mandan (4-6, 1-2) went on a 7-1 run. But Minot scored the next three points to grab the lead back on the way to winning the game and sending the match to a decisive fifth game.
There, Mandan scored the first two points and built up enough momentum to survive the match.
"If we can just get going at the beginning and not get behind as much, we'll go out strong and win as a team," sophomore outside hitter Brooke Suko said.
Mandan succeeded in getting its first region victory. The Braves won each game by building a significant gap and holding on.
In the first set, Mandan jumped out to an 8-1 lead and coasted. In the third, they scored the first six points and put together two 4-0 runs.
The games the Braves dropped didn't faze coach Anna Neubauer.
"We were still pretty confident," Neubauer said. "Even in our losses, we came back. We kinda dug a little bit of a hole, but we came back, fought back with those and just came up short in our losses. But our confidence levels were still there."
Despite the loss, the Majettes feel that they are improving each match.
"(Jebens) said that we're playing better than we played last week," senior middle hitter Morgan Milbrath said. "We can only keep going up from here. We just need to keep improving the little things that we need to work on and hopefully eventually we'll be out there and be on top."
Senior middle hitter Alex Bolinske led Minot with seven kills, three aces and six blocks. Milbrath had six kills and senior libero Jessie Kongelf had 21 digs for the Majettes.
Minot hosts Bismarck St. Mary's Friday at 7 p.m.