FARGO — There will be no repeat this time for Thompson.
The Tommies’ bid for a second consecutive state title ended Thursday, Nov. 21, in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B high school state volleyball tournament. The Tommies dropped a 30-28, 25-19, 25-21 decision to Fargo Oak Grove.
Thompson was attempting to add to its Class B state record total of five state championships. The first four all were back-to-back state championships (1997-98 and 2004-05).
But a repeat “wasn’t the focus for us,’’ Tommies coach Lisa Strand said. “Our goal was to win the first one. That’s the disappointment, not getting that one. But when you do win state, you want to win it again. There’s a letdown.’’
The Thompson problem was the Oak Grove defense. The Grovers’ blocking at the net and scrappy back-row play limited Thompson’s offense to 30 kills and one service ace.
“That’s typical defense for us,’’ Oak Grove coach Julie Vancura said. “We tell the girls they have to get after it, to make teams earn their points. They (Tommies) score a lot down the lines. We found ways to take that away.’’
The big swing may have come in the opening set.
Thompson rallied from a 19-16 deficit to take a 24-21 lead. The Tommies served for set point three times, but couldn’t get it. Oak Grove finished on a 4-1 run, putting away the win on an Emily Stover service ace.
“That was momentum,’’ Vancura said. “It carried us through the next two sets.’’
Said Strand: “We didn’t capitalize on chances we had. That was huge, to lose the first one, especially when it was a close one. The kids have to spring back; that’s not easy when you’ve used so much energy and lost.’’
The Grovers used a 7-0 run to pull into a 16-12 lead in the second set and led by three or more the rest of the way.
Thompson was within 21-20 in the third after scoring four unanswered points. But back-to-back kills by Sydney Olson started a match-closing 4-1 Grovers spurt.
Julia Bogart had 12 kills and Jaiden Zeis 10 to pace Oak Grove. Macy Jordheim’s 11 kills led the Tommies.
“Their defense was phenomenal,’’ Strand said. “We had a tough time finding holes. When we got around blockers, they dug everything up. I don’t think we ever got into a flow on offense. They have great hitters. They had us on our heels and we never threatened them with our offense.’’
THOMPSON (kills-blocks-aces): Bohlman 3-1-0 (13 digs), Cunningham 0-0-0 (44 digs), Hughes 7-1-1 (29 digs, 13 assists), Jordheim 11-3-0, Munson 0-0-0 (20 digs), Ness 3-1-0, Sorby 1-0-0 (13 assists), Welke 0-0-0 (29 digs), Welke 0-1-0.
OAK GROVE: Berg 1-0-0 (18 kills, 6 digs), Bogart 12-0-1 (20 digs), Kellerman 1-0-0 (22 digs), Niemiller 2-0-0 (17 assists, 14 digs), Olson 8-0-0, Pundsack 4-0-0, Zeis 10-1-0.