LaMoure coach Laurie Good said it best on the topic of serving.
"If you can't serve, you can't do anything," she said.
Serving errors just may have cost the Stanley volleyball team a chance to play for the Class B state championship. The Blue Jays committed 15 service errors in a four-set loss to No. 3-seeded LaMoure on Friday in the state semifinals at the Minot State University Dome.
LaMoure seniors Talitha Hirschkorn, left, and Courtney Carlson attempt to block an attack from Stanley senior Chai Pappa during a Class B state semifinal Friday at the Minot State University Dome.
After dropping the first two sets, Stanley had a chance to force a fifth set. But leading 24-22, the Blue Jays committed their final and most costly service error. LaMoure senior outside hitter Courtney Carlson tallied the final three points of the match two kills and a block to send the Loboes to their first state championship match with a 25-12, 26-24, 24-26, 26-24 victory.
"Anytime you have unforced errors, it's big-time," Stanley coach Jessica Niemitalo said. "It changes everything in your game."
LaMoure plays top-seeded Northern Cass in the title match tonight at 6.
"Our long-term goal was the region championship and we looked at the banner in the gym and we said 'You know what? We want to make a statement,' " Good said. "I felt all year they had the capability and they just came through."
Stanley committed its first service error on just its second serve of the match and compiled five in the first game. The Blue Jays struggled to return LaMoure's serves early as well. The Loboes recorded six aces in the first set three each by Carlson and senior libero Abby Warcken.
"We played aggressive," Carlson said. "We didn't make the mistakes. We made them make the mistakes."
Carlson recorded a team-high 21 kills and eighth-grader Anna Holen added 14.
Stanley fared better with serve receiving in the second set, but still struggled getting the ball over the net from the service line. The Blue Jays added three more service errors in the second game. Even with the miscues, Stanley had a chance to square the match. A kill by senior middle blocker Chai Pappa set up game point at 24-23, but the Loboes won the final three points.
The loss overshadowed a dominant performance by Pappa. The 5-foot-9 senior tallied a match-high 29 kills, 10 shy of the record set by Langdon's Briana Stremick in 2004. Pappa also recorded 20 digs, four blocks and two aces.
"When Chai was in the front we were just trying to hit it elsewhere and just get them out of system and get them out of their game," Good said.
Pappa registered seven kills, a block and an ace in the third set. The Blue Jays faced match point trailing 24-23, but a kill by senior middle blocker Angela Nielsen tied the game and consecutive kills by Pappa forced a fourth.
The Blue Jays fell one assist short of tying the team record of 56 held by Kenmare (twice) and Central Cass. Junior Brianna Holland tallied 48 of the team's assists, five shy of the record set by Stanley's Reeann Mehus in 2010.
Stanley plays Carrington in the third-place match today at 2 p.m.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics, the Minot State University men's club hockey team and the Minot Minotauros. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.