Majettes swept by the Patriots on senior night
Minot senior Kali Askvig couldn’t help but chuckle and shake her head in disbelief after witnessing fellow teammate Morgan Theis narrowly avoid getting a gruesome bruise.
Theis, lying on the court after a kill attempt by Century’s Lauren Ware knocked her off her feet, was left helpless as Ware wound up again and smashed the return ball right back at her.
Theis somehow escaped unscathed and lived to see the end of the match, but Century (23-8, 10-1 WDA) proved to be too powerful for the Majettes on senior night with a 3-0 sweep by set scores of 25-14, 25-14, 25-18.
“When you play a team like Century, all cylinders have to be popping,” MHS coach Sherry Carlson said. “Big blocks, we started tipping on attacks and gave up too many free balls. When you play a team like this, you got to come out and swing.”
Century’s lone West Region loss this season came on the road at conference leading Jamestown on Sept. 7. The Patriots turned that around and handed the Blue Jays their first conference loss last week Tuesday in a five-set marathon (25-22, 19-25, 23-25, 25-21, 17-15).
Meanwhile, the Majettes (19-16, 8-8 WDA) were looking to get back at the Patriots after dropping a four-set match (16-25, 25-14, 25-11, 25-21) in Bismarck on Sept. 12.
That didn’t quite work out, but not everything went wrong for Minot in the defeat.
“We were doing a fabulous job with serve-receive,” Carlson said. “Last time we played Century, that’s kind of where we fell. And now, today, our serve-receive was stellar. Probably some of the best I’ve seen this year. But, we couldn’t execute on the hit.”
Neither team recorded an ace in the contest.
The Patriots took control early with an 8-2 lead in set one. Minot regrouped to get back within a point at 12-11, but Century closed out the opening frame with strong serving and a 13-3 run to take the set 25-14.
“We are pulling some things together from practice and bringing it into the games,” Century coach Jamie Zastoupil said. “We are starting to play as one and moving together, which is what you want to see at the end of the season.”
A kill by Minot senior Kali Askvig kicked off the second set, but it quickly went downhill for the Majettes.
“I think we came out slower than normal,” said Askvig, who finished with six kills. “We weren’t in it right away. I don’t know if it was our emotions running high or the adrenaline, but we didn’t come out as strong as we should have. It was tough, but we just tried to make the most fun out of it that we could and enjoy our last game in this gym.”
A mini spark by junior Caitlyn Messner, with a kill and block, wasn’t enough to prevent Century from winning the second frame by the same score as the first, 25-14.
The Patriots were paced by double-digit kills from senior Megan Anderson (12) and junior Jordan Weeks (11). Sophomore Ware had seven kills and a team-high three blocks. Senior setter Katelyn Selensky had a match-high 39 assists.
“They are not veterans on the floor,” Zastoupil said. “We graduated nine (players) and only had one true returner to the team, so we are playing with some young kids. We have had some bumps along the way, but they are competitors and have pieced some big matches together.”
The third set got off to a better start for the Majettes with Messner having another kill-to-block sequence. The Majettes were lasted tied with the Patriots at 7-7. Messner led Minot with seven kills and two blocks.
Minot senior setter Brooke Nelson picked up a double-double with 19 assists and 11 digs. Senior Elise Klein had five kills. Senior libero Rylee Terrel collected a team-high 12 digs and Theis had nine digs.
Ware’s near take out of Theis happened at 13-9 and Carlson called her final timeout at 21-13.
“I loved that we stayed enthusiastic, even at the end,” Carlson said. “When I called that last timeout, I said if we are going down, then I want to go down swinging, having fun and getting a couple more points.”
The Majettes pulled out five more points, including a sidearm dig that went over the net for a point by Terrel, then Century fittingly closed out the contest on a kill right down the middle by Ware, 25-18.
“They are pretty imposing,” Terrel said about Century. “They have Lauren Ware with the big blocks, big hits obviously. They are always known as the team to beat, so we came into the game knowing that. But, we don’t really worry about that. It’s just another team and another game.”
The emotions of senior night got to Terrel after the match, as she couldn’t hold back tears when talking about what she was going to remember the most about playing for Minot High.
“Playing with these girls,” she said tearfully. “Coach Carlson, everyone, the fans. Everything.”
Carlson added about the seniors: “It is going to be really tough to lose this group. I know it’s only my second year with them, but they contribute so much to the team. Just in their leadership, skills and how they treat each other. It’s going to be tough.”
The Majettes have a pair of road games at Bismarck High on Thursday and Mandan on Monday to conclude the regular season. The WDA Tournament begins Nov. 9 in Mandan.
Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.