Shanley falls to Mandan in five sets in state volleyball

Down 2-0 to Fargo Shanley, Mandan had to dig deep.
All-around ace Olivia Moe, one of seven Mandan seniors, had a better remedy for the Braves.
“We knew we could do it, we just had to get our heads out of our butts,” Moe said. “We have a very senior-heavy team. We try not to get too high or too low but getting down 2-0 wasn’t part of the plan.”
After Shanley took the first two sets 25-19, 25-20. Mandan’s march back included dominating wins in the third (25-12) and fifth (15-2) sandwiched around a competitive fourth frame (25-22).
“I just don’t think we were playing our game. We were passing poorly, they were serving aggressive, we just were back on our heels,” Mandan coach Anna Folk said. “We just kind of put our heads down, starting chipping away at it and decided we didn’t want to lose tonight. It was a great effort by the girls.”
It was all Mandan in the final set.
Shanley had four early errors. When Lakyn Darras blasted down a kill it was 6-1 and the Braves were on their way.
Megan Zander caught fire in the final two sets. The UND basketball recruit had a team-best 12 kills and a match-high four blocks. Moe stuffed the stat sheet with nine kills, 11 digs and a match-high three aces.
Fargo Shanley got big performances from Reile Payne and Grace Meier, both of whom posted 15 kills. Jordyn Stroup dished out 36 assists for the Deacons, who play Jamestown at 3 p.m. on Friday.
“It was two good teams having a great five-set match,” Shanley coach Curt Johnson said. “I’m proud of how we played. Our kids competed really, really hard against a very good team and we just came up a little bit short tonight.”
Packers, Schatz
survive Jamestown
in state opener
With one of the youngest teams in the Class A state volleyball tournament, West Fargo Coach Kelsey Gibbons has stressed the importance of leaning on her team’s lone senior starter Mariah Schatz.
That proved to be a good strategy Thursday.
Schatz recorded seven of her match-high 19 kills in the decisive fifth set, as the East top-seeded Packers survived a pesky Jamestown team 25-20, 22-25, 25-10, 22-25, 15-13 to win in Thursday’s opening round in the Minot State Dome.
Schatz was dominant from the start in set five, recording three kills as West Fargo built up a 4-1 lead.
As they did most of the night, the Blue Jays came charging back, as the set saw four lead changes and three ties. But Schatz eventually swung things back the Packers’ way, giving them a 9-8 lead on a block, then added another kill on the ensuing point.
Jamestown never made it easy, fighting off set point twice and getting within 14-13 on an ace by Kameron Selvig.
But it was Schatz again who finally pushed the Packers back into the semifinals, blasting the final point on yet another kill.
“I was really feeling it,” Schatz said. “I was just thinking ‘put the ball down and terminate’ the whole time. When coach looks at me and says ‘Mariah, you’ve got to put the ball down’ I’m like ”okay, I got it.’ I can’t think about the nerves. I have to put the ball down and make sure everyone else stays calm in a situation that’s really tight like that.”
Packer Coach Kelsey Gibbons believed the faith she had in Schatz was justified.
“In tight situations she’s our go-to and in those fifth sets we make sure that we have her in the right spot at the beginning of the game and we’ve got to keep feeding her until she gets stopped,” Gibbons said. “And she’s a hard one to (stop).”
It didn’t appear things would be so tight after set three. After splitting the first two sets, West Fargo took a 2-1 lead with a crushing run in the third, going on a 16-1 run after falling behind, 7-5, and eventually scoring 20 of the set’s final 25 points.
But after the Packers scored the first three points of set four, the Blue Jays rallied to pull even, riding the strong play of Courtney Peterson, who had a team-high 14 kills and four aces.
With two rounds still to play in the next two days, there’s little time for the Packers to rest, as they return for semifinal play at 5 p.m. Friday.
“That one is physically and emotionally tiring,” Gibbons said. “We’ve got to rest, we’ve got to celebrate and we’ve got to be ready to play tomorrow night.”
Ware, Patriots too
much for Mustangs
For years, West Fargo Sheyenne volleyball players have been desperate for a chance to play in the state tournament. They got the full experience Thursday in the Minot State Dome.
Lauren Ware finished with 19 kills, and Bismarck Century began its quest for a fourth consecutive Class A title with a 30-28, 25-21, 25-19 opening-round win over Sheyenne.
The Mustangs, who led by as many as four early in the opening set, had their chances in a back-and-forth opener, reaching set point twice. But a kill by Ware and an attack error thwarted their hopes of jumping out to a 1-0 lead.
Sheyenne fought off four set points of its own but Ware, a 6-foot-4 outside hitter with a six-inch height advantage over the tallest Mustang, finally ended it with her eighth kill of the set.
With the score tied at 15, the Mustangs attempted to make a run in the second set as Ware was subbed out during a Patriot rotation.
And while they were able to grab a pair of one-point leads, the advantage never grew larger than that and when Ware returned, she recorded four more kills, including the final two points of the set.
Despite playing Century three times during the regular season, Sheyenne Coach Leah Newton acknowledged the difficulty of preparing for a player with Ware’s combination of size and skill.
“She’s going to get hers,” Newton said. “We work on trying to minimize how many kills she gets, but someone of her size and athleticism and jumping ability, she’s going to get her kills.”
Sheyenne made a strong rally late in the third set, but a sluggish start resulted in an early 8-3 hole, which was ultimately too big for it to dig out of.
Brooke Prochaska finished with 26 assists, while Olivia Dobrinz had nine kills. McKenzie Newton had the best all-around performance for the Mustang offense, recording nine kills, nine assists and tied Prochaska for the team lead with nine digs.
“It sucks we lost,” said Dobrinz, one of six seniors on the Sheyenne roster. “(But) we’re the underdogs. We just want to come in and play loose and just have fun. It was a tough loss but they’re a good team and I feel like we played really good with them.”
Davies wins, earns matchup with
top-seeded Century
Fargo Davies’ high-flying attack was in full effect on Thursday at the Minot State Dome.
The Eagles bounced back from their East Region championship match loss to West Fargo with a 25-20, 20-25, 25-16, 25-18 win over Bismarck High in quarterfinal action of the Class A state volleyball tournament.
The Eagles hadn’t lost since Oct. 6 prior to last Saturday’s setback to the Packers. Now, they’re one win from the championship match.
“Our kids come to work hard every day so I don’t think they needed any more motivation that a loss may have provided,” Davies coach Missy Wilson said. “We knew Bismarck was going to play well and play extremely hard. Being prepared for them and playing well was our main focus.”
The Eagles’ deep hitting attack was on fully display. Madaline Cooper clubbed a team-high 15 kills. Madison Langlie (14) and Grace Solberg (13) were right behind. Kenzee Langlie (31) and Maggie Krueger (20) combined for 51 assists.
“We have six hitters that contribute on any given night and our setters do a great job of getting the ball to the kids that need it and our backcourt defense and serve-receive does a great job making that first contact to get us in system,” Wilson said.
Bismarck showed flashes all match. The Demons led, 16-13, in the opening set on a kill by Macy Wetsch, but the Eagles answered with a 10-1 run.
The Demons led 9-5 early in the third set, but Davies scored 13 of the next 16 points to take command. The Eagles did not trail in the third despite a late push from Bismarck.
“That was some good volleyball. Bismarck did some great things. They kept the ball alive several times it looked like we had it down,” Wilson said. “We expected them to play well and they did. I’m proud of our girls.”
Davies faces Century in the semifinals at 5 p.m. in a matchup of the two best win-loss records in the state.
“We’re going to enjoy this one for a little bit, but later tonight we’ll look at some tape and start preparing,” Wilson said. “They’re a great team. It should be exciting.”