FARGO — Four-time defending champion Bismarck Century took care of business, sweeping Valley City 25-17, 25-16, 25-14 in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class A state volleyball tournament on Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Fargodome.
The top-seeded Patriots, riding a 21-match winning streak, did everything they needed to do to win, and got themselves ready to move forward.
“We played some low-air volleyball,” Century coach Jamie Zastoupil said. “This first match is a big one — finding the court, finding the ceiling, the lights are different. So being able to play through that is big. Being able to play through that is important.”
The Patriots’ block made life difficult on the Hi-Liners as they racked up 14 blocks, led by Hailey Fletcher and Sarah Fleming, with six blocks each.
“Hailey is a role player,” Zastoupil said. “She’ll go wherever you need her to go. Last year she played on the right side and we moved to the outside and now with Lauren out, she’s filled in where Lauren would have been. She just does what she does and gets her job done. We’re really impressed with what she’s been able to do in her senior year.”
The Hi-Liners came out hot and hung around early in all three sets. But the Patriots responded and closed the door each time.
In the first set, Century took its first lead 9-8 on a Valley City service error. Fletcher and Ella Fridley followed that up with a block and Century was off to the races from there. They rode a 7-2 run to a 19-12 lead. A Fletcher kill set up set point for the Patriots, but Macy Olstad smashed home kill for the Hi-Liners before a VC service error gave Century the win.
The Hi-Liners hung around early again in the second set, but again the Patriots proved too strong as the set wore on. VC stayed within a point at 6-5, but Century went on a 4-0 run from there and followed it up with a 6-0 run to go ahead 16-7. Fletcher finished the set out with two blocks — her fourth and fifth of the match.
The Patriots separated themselves in the third set with an 8-1 run that gave them a 14-7 lead. Hattie Fitterer had four kills and a block during the run. And the Patriots closed the set, and the match, on a 6-0 run.
“I thought we served aggressively and we had few errors,” Zastoupil said. “That allowed us to get on some runs and picked up our momentum a little bit. Volleyball is a game of momentum and you want to be able to pick that up and run. Our setters were doing a nice job of dispersing balls. We have a lot of different hitters and a lot of different options. Tonight, I thought Hattie was really on, and sometimes it’s somebody else and sometimes it’s somebody else.”
CENTURY (kill-blocks-aces): Clarke 0-0-1 (18 assists), H. Fitterer 13-2-0, J. Fitterer 8-0-0, Fleming 4-6-0, H. Fletcher 7-6-0, Fridley 4-0-0, Klein 6-0-0, Lill 1-0-0 (18 assists), Markovic 0-0-0 (16 digs), Nissley 4-0-0.
VALLEY CITY (kills-blocks-aces): Diegel 1-0-0, Dieterle 5-0-0, Halgrimson 5-0-0 (9 digs), Lemnus 0-0-1 (13 assists), Noeske 5-3-0, Olstad 9-1-0, Pederson 2-1-0.