FARGO — A Tornado swept through the Fargodome on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 21, and it disrupted some Blue Jays.
The Oakes Tornadoes swept the Stanley Blue Jays in the opening round of the North Dakota Class B state volleyball tournament 25-14, 25-15, 25-20. Oakes, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, advances to Friday's semifinals.
"It feels good," said Oakes coach Shari Christenson. "We got a lot of the nervous jitters out and weren't probably connecting like we had been at the regional tournament. But like we said in (the locker room), a win is a win and we are one step closer to our goal."
Standout outside hitter Nicole Schmitz helped to lead her team at the net, much like she helped the team earn back-to-back Region 3 tournament championships. Schmitz produced 17 kills, seven digs and a pair of aces against the Blue Jays.
"Nicole is such a dynamic athlete," Christenson said. "She is just so physical and is so strong and loves the pressure. When the game is on the line, she loves to get the ball and is fearless all the time. She's just a pretty special kid."
Schmitz and the Tornadoes lost a five-set thriller to Thompson in the 2018 state championship match held in Minot.
"We've been hoping to get back here ever since the last point of last year's championship match," Schmitz said. "We've had that to drive us ... just to get back here and redeem ourselves."
While Oakes put an end to Stanley's shot at a state championship, the Blue Jays did not go down without a fight.
Stanley's 6-foot-1 Jossi Meyer and outside hitter Leevi Meyer combined to produce 13 kills and challenged the Tornadoes in the third set. Jossi Meyer also put up three blocks against Schmitz and the rest of Oakes' front line.
Junior Sadie Hansen, Oakes' four-year starter at setter, posted 25 assists. Stanley's busy back row was paced by Shayna Dazell's 27 digs.
"We know that when we are able to attack the ball that we can win and we can be successful," Stanley coach Bobbi Jo Johnson said. "We didn't have (Meyer) all through the region tournament, so this is her first game since we played districts."
Stanley moves on to Friday's 3 p.m. consolation match. Schmitz said the Tornadoes (36-3) have one goal in mind this weekend in Fargo.
"This year is different because we know what we are capable of," Schmitz said. "We're kind of doing it all for ourselves. That's what's really special about this team is that we play for each other."
STANLEY (kills-blocks-aces): Dazell 0-0-0 (27 digs), Dean 0-1-4 (15 assists), Gorder 0-0-0 (2 digs), Halvorson 0-0-0 (14 digs), Hennessy 0-0-0 (4 digs), Lee 2-1-0 (20 digs), J. Meyer 7-3-0 (12 digs), L. Meyer 6-0-0 (4 digs), Ruden 1-0-0. Totals: 16-5-4.
OAKES: Cox 0-0-2, Day 0-0-0 (2 digs), Hansen 6-0-1 (25 assists), Jepson 1-0-3, Muggli 7-0-0, Novak 5-0-0, Schmitz 17-0-2 (7 digs), Seyer 1-0-1 (11 digs), Wagner 0-0-0 (4 digs). Totals: 37-0-9.