It appeared the Minot High School volleyball team was in for a short match after a lopsided first-set loss to Bismarck High on Tuesday.
A number of unforced errors had the Majettes in a 2-0 hole heading into the third set, but Minot kept a positive mindset and rallied to force a fifth set. The comeback fell just short as the Demons regrouped to win the tiebreaker and the match 25-8, 25-23, 13-25, 22-25, 15-11 in a West Region match at Magic City Campus.
The Majettes - donning pink uniforms in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month - jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the fifth set, but BHS won the next six points and held on for the victory. BHS senior outside hitter Morgan Miller finished the match with her 12th kill of the night. Eight of the Demons points in the tiebreak came via Minot miscues.
Minot High School senior Carson Held digs the ball between junior outside hitters Malena Lennon (11) and Brooke Suko on Tuesday at Magic City Campus.
"One of the things we did the best in the fifth set was trust each other," BHS coach Jessica Nichols said.
BHS (17-12 overall, 8-3 region) dominated the opening set as the Majettes struggled to keep the ball in play. Minot put six shots out of bounds, fueling a 15-2 run by the Demons to take the first set. The Majettes weren't deterred by the slow start.
"We came into the huddle and said, 'No negative thoughts in our heads. We just have to stay positive,' " MHS junior outside hitter Brooke Suko said. "We know we can go out and do our best and if we do our best, we can get a win out of it."
The Majettes (13-16, 3-7) matched the Demons point for point after that as Minot never trailed by more than four in the final four sets. MHS led 21-18 in the second set, but surrendered seven of the next nine points to fall into a two-game hole.
Minot controlled the third set as everyone on the court contributed to the offense. Six players tallied points for the Majettes. With just three errors in the third set, MHS dominated the Demons, who had 10 miscues in the game.
"The difference was we started out just a little bit slow and back on our heels," MHS coach Ellen Jebens said. "Then we went after them after that. We really served well. We were aggressive at the net. We played some really great defense. Not quite good enough for the win, but I was happy with how we played."
Suko, senior setter Ashley Gathman and libero Trista Jackson each had four aces.
The BHS errors continued in the fourth set. The Majettes recorded nine of their first 10 points on Demon mistakes. But five Minot service errors kept BHS close. Yet, anytime the Demons threatened to take the lead, well-timed kills by Suko and senior middle hitters Jayden Moum and Jerica Hanson kept the Majettes in front. With the score tied at 20, MHS tallied five of the final seven points to force the tiebreaker.
"Everyone did their job," Jebens said. "A lot of key players came up big. We didn't get the win, but for the most part they all got their jobs done tonight."
Suko finished with a team-high 13 kills. She also totaled 15 digs and two blocks.
BHS junior outside hitter Jenna Binstock finished with a match-high 15 kills.
The Majettes raised a total of $1,500 from their breast cancer awareness fundraiser and plan to donate that money to a member of the community fighting cancer.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics, the Minot Minotauros and the Minot State University men's club hockey team. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.