FARGO — The West Fargo Sheyenne Mustangs are off to the Class A state volleyball semifinals for the first time in the young program's history. The Mustangs secured a 25-19, 25-14, 25-15 quarterfinal sweep over third-seeded Bismarck High on Thursday night, Nov. 21, at the Fargodome.
"It's amazing. We've never been to the semifinals at state before, last year being our first year (in the state tournament)," Sheyenne head coach Leah Newton said. "It's really exciting. I knew that if we came out and played together as a team and ran our offense that we'd have a shot, but every team that's here is very good."
The Mustangs (24-5) finally ended a state tournament drought last fall, earning a fifth-place state finish.
"I knew Bismarck High had some big middles, that their outside game was really well and that they'd be scrappy," Newton said. "So you never know going in, but I liked our chances with us playing our game."
The second-seeded Mustangs face four-time reigning state champions Bismarck Century (26-2) at 7 p.m. Friday in the semis at the Fargodome. The top-seeded Patriots defeated the Mustangs 2-1 earlier this fall.
Junior outside hitter Jadyn Feist tallied 12 kills and a dozen digs to help lift Sheyenne to its first ever semifinal matchup. Newton said Feist, who was named to the All-EDC team, was a great all-around player.
"I've talked about how powerful her swing is, but I think what people don't recognize is what she does for us in the back row, as well," Newton said. "She passes really well, she's someone that can attack out of the back row. She digs a lot of balls for us."
Feist helped the Mustangs grab an early 6-point lead (8-2), tallying five of Sheyenne's first eight points in the opening set.
"A lot of teams plan for her, and she handles that pressure well, too. She's done a great job this year. Great player," Newton said.
The Demons trimmed the margin to one with the help of a 4-point run, but the Mustangs were off to the races again with six unanswered marks.
Each team rode its own spurts, but in minutes, Sheyenne broke loose to clinch the first set 25-19 on a tip by junior Megan Olson.
After losing the first set, the Demons had the first two points on the board. Bismarck and Sheyenne played a competitive second frame up until the Mustangs notched a 5-point run, turning the tide in their favor.
The Demons couldn't recover from the 9-point deficit, and three straight points carried the Mustangs to set point, where Olson clinched the set for Sheyenne with a tip.
Feist fueled the third-set attack for the Mustangs, recording the first of three unanswered Sheyenne points on a kill.
The Mustangs held onto the early lead, stretching it to 13 (19-6). Five straight points brought the Demons within eight, but the gap was too big to close.
Callie Stonecipher fired a kill to help Bismarck High evade a set point, but Sheyenne walked away with the 25-15 third and final frame. Feist punched the semifinal ticket for the Mustangs with a kill.
SHEYENNE (kills-blocks-aces): Feist 12-1-1, Knewtson 1-0-0 (15 digs), Kranz 0-0-1, Newton 2-2-0 (24 assists), Smith 6-0-0, Such 8-3-0.
BISMARCK HIGH (kills-blocks-aces): Henriksen 0-0-1 (17 digs), Herslip 4-0-0, Hinsz 0-0-0 (7 assists), Moser 4-0-0, Renner 1-0-0, C. Stonecipher 3-5-0, E. Stonecipher 3-0-0, Wetsch 6-0-0.