FARGO — The Fargo Shanley Deacons and Jamestown Blue Jays aren't new to seeing each other in the Class A state volleyball tournament. Shanley topped Jamestown in the consolation semifinals last year, and in similar fashion, the Deacons knocked the Blue Jays out of championship play this year.
The Deacons notched a four-set, 25-18, 25-12, 25-21, 25-23 victory over postseason foe Jamestown to advance to the state semifinals, where they'll play top-seeded Fargo Davies (31-1) at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at the Fargodome. The Eagles and Deacons have seen each other three times this year, with Davies picking up all three wins.
Third-seeded Shanley cruised to two set victories, winning the second by double digits. But No. 2 West seed Jamestown pushed the match to four sets, and was two points shy of a fifth frame.
"Whenever we play Jamestown, it's always back-and-forth, back-and-forth. They (Jamestown) got on a great run," Shanley head coach Curt Johnson said. "And we felt confident that we could fight back, even when we were down 20-12. The girls just believed that we could come back, put the pressure on them."
Johnson said as a coach, he's always nervous, no matter what the score is. Down by eight, his team could've mailed it in. But his players weren't worried about the score, Johnson said, they just kept playing as a team.
"Working together won that match for us," he said. "They didn't give up on each other; they kept working hard. It's an honor to coach them because they work so hard."
The Deacons and Blue Jays played a back-and-forth first few minutes of the opening set, but Shanley broke away on a 6-point run to take the lead.
A kill by Megan Mathison clinched the opening set for Shanley 25-18.
The Blue Jays got out front early in the second frame, until another spurt gave Shanley the upper hand. The Deacons rode the momentum to an 8-point lead.
A back-to-back kill and block from Reile Payne, who led Shanley with 22 kills, gave the Deacons the 25-12 second set.
After losing the previous set by 13, the Blue Jays gained an early lead in the third frame.
A trio of Hannah Hoedl aces swung the momentum in favor of the Deacons, but Jamestown didn't let go of it that easy this time, making the third set a tight battle. Hoedl paced the Deacons with 27 digs in the match.
Jamestown got its first 3-point lead of the night in the frame, trying to push the match to four sets.
And the Blue Jays did just that thanks to four straight points and a Grace Hegerle kill that capped the 25-21 set.
After forcing a fourth set, Jamestown played like it was pushing for a fifth. The Blue Jays were soon up by a match-high five points.
Shanley came back after being down 20-12, notching a 7-point run to cut it to 20-19. Page McAllister sealed the final set (25-23) for the Deacons with a kill, eliminating the Blue Jays from championship play.
Rachel Schiele led the Blue Jays with 27 digs. Kameron Selvig paced Jamestown 33 assists.
SHANLEY (kills-blocks-aces): Burd 7-0-0, Friederichs 9-5-0, Hoedl 0-0-3 (27 digs), Mathison 5-0-0, McAllister 5-0-2, Payne 22-2-0, Vetter 0-1-0 (37 assists).
JAMESTOWN (kills-blocks-aces): Anderson 12-0-0, Douty 0-0-1, Hegerle 9-0-1 (17 digs), Nihill 0-0-2, Paulson 0-0-1, Roaldson 11-4-0, Schiele 0-0-1 (27 digs), Selvig 3-1-1 (33 assists), Walter 6-2-0.