Minot High volleyball coach Ellen Jebens said her team simply had an off night. Maybe it was rust.
The Majettes put out one of their finest performances of the year on Oct. 15 in a five-set home loss to Bismarck. They hoped to build on that.
But in its first match since then, MHS made myriad errors and fell 25-18, 25-18, 25-14 to visiting St. Mary's on Friday night at Magic City Campus.
Minot High middle hitter Jayden Moum hits a ball into the net as St. Mary’s seniors Katelyn Schaffner (11) and Ashley Wanner (26) attempt a block Friday at Magic City Campus.
"We kind of just were out of rhythm, out of sync," Jebens said. "For whatever reason, we just couldn't get it going."
MHS senior middle hitter Jayden Moum opened the first set with two of her match-best eight kills. But St. Mary's reeled off the next five points, and eight of the next nine, to force an MHS timeout.
The Majettes (13-17 overall, 3-8 West Region) didn't hold a lead again until early in the third set.
St. Mary's (16-9, 8-4) scored eight of 10 points midway through the opening frame for a 20-11 lead before closing out the set.
Twelve of the Saints' first-set points came on MHS errors or violations.
"We just couldn't get it going," Jebens said. "We had a good week of practice. I don't know what happened. I feel like we've been getting stronger. Tonight's just a dip in the road."
The Saints jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the second frame on back-to-back kills by outside hitter Katelyn Schaffner.
Most of Schaffner's seven kills were highlight-reel caliber. St. Mary's coach Amy Heuer said that's common for her athletic senior.
"She makes a statement with (her kills)," Heuer said. "She was on. Her timing was clicking. They were leaving the line open for her and that's her favorite shot is to take that line."
St. Mary's senior middle blocker Kaylyn Herold, who returned after missing two weeks with an ankle injury, also had seven kills to lead the Saints.
Midway through the second set, St. Mary's scored eight of 11 points - five coming on MHS errors -en route to a 2-0 match lead.
MHS claimed a 7-4 advantage in the third set, but the Saints rattled off six straight points and never trailed again.
Junior outside hitter Malena Lennon was a bright spot for the Majettes with five aces. Ashley Gathman racked up 11 assists and Trista Jackson had eight digs.
St. Mary's senior setter Allie Reisenauer tallied 18 assists and classmate Mary Roller had 14 digs. The Saints have won four of five matches, with their lone loss coming to West Region leader Jamestown.
"Our serve receive was just really on," Heuer said. "Our coverage was there. We were doing everything we've been working on the past few weeks. They all clicked and it worked for us tonight."
MHS hosts Jamestown at 7 p.m. Friday.
Ryan Holmgren covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.