There was a series of emotions for Dickinson outside hitter Abby Grove on Thursday night.
The 5-foot-10 senior exhibited nerves, frustration and elation in a taut 25-23, 16-25, 13-25, 25-18, 16-14 edging of Fargo Shanley in the first round of the Class A state volleyball tournament at the Minot State University Dome.
The discontent, which followed a few nervous bouts, stemmed from dropping consecutive, error-filled games. The grins that followed the seesaw contest were a product of keeping the Midgets' title hopes alive.
Grove, who came up with five kills in the decisive fifth set, tallied 17 overall to go with 12 digs, a pair of aces and a block to help get Dickinson to tonight's semifinal. The Midgets face Bismark Century tonight at 8 for a ticket to the title round.
Shanley will meet Fargo Davies today at 2 p.m. in a consolation match.
"I just had so much adrenaline," Groves said. "We were just so close and I really wanted to win. It was just so exciting to win that first game to know we can keep it going."
The two clubs exchanged leads seven times in the first set before Shanley gave Dickinson all it could handle up front. Namely, it was sophomore sensation Alivia Fraase giving Dickinson its share of fits.
Fraase, a 6-foot middle blocker, had an answer for Dickinson's impressive front line, which featured Grove and North Dakota State University-bound hitter Ali Moody (27 assists, 10 kills).
Fraase's 19 kills, 6 digs and three blocks spearheaded the Shanley attack early and helped dig the Deacons out of an early hole in the deciding set.
"She's just a strong, smart player," Shanley coach Curtis Johnson said. "...The (games) we won, we got (Dickinson) out of their system. The games they won, they got us out of our system and the fifth game was just a classic volleyball match. Unfortunately someone had to lose."
Shanley's Amy Freeberg dished out 48 assists and Jessica Anderson had 13 kills in the losing effort.