FARGO — David defeated Goliath in the North Dakota Class A state volleyball championship Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Fargodome.
After a long lasting state-championship match drought, the Fargo Davies Eagles (33-1) will be bringing home their first state title, dethroning four-time state champions Bismarck Century.
Losing the first set by 12, Davies rallied to make school history with a four-set 13-25, 22-16, 25-13, 25-21 victory over the Patriots. The Eagles accomplished what teams have struggled to do for the past four years in their first championship appearance — which was Century's ninth straight.
"This is an amazing night for these kids," Davies head coach Carolyn Olson said. "They worked incredibly hard for this and for them to have this opportunity to embrace this and earn the first state championship for Davies High School, it's an amazing night."
Olson, who won the Class A coach of the year, said her team came out tight, and had some title-match nerves to shake.
"We just needed to manage some stress, and kind of put some things in perspective," Olson said. "Get down to playing some volleyball instead of worrying about everything else."
Senior Maddie Cooper, who had 12 digs in the title match, said her team had to refocus after the opening set.
"We were a little nervous at the beginning if you couldn't tell, but we just pushed through it," Cooper said. "It was really fun, and they played a good game. It feels really amazing."
The Eagles capped their almost perfect season with a 29-match winning streak.
The Patriots (28-3) came out swinging, with no nerves to shake off in the opening set. Century grabbed an early lead and held onto it, stretching it to 11 (19-8) on a Sarah Fleming kill.
The Eagles had some rust to shake off in the opening set. The Patriots scored almost all of their points on Davies' net and attack errors. A couple Maddie Cooper kills and a block trimmed the lead, but the Eagles couldn't catch them.
The Patriots ran away with the first set 25-13, finishing it off with a Julia Fitterer kill. Fitterer led the team with 22 kills.
Century was on top first in the second, but the Eagles fought back this time to make it a back-and-forth set.
Davies erased a 5-point deficit at 8-3 with the help of Cooper and Madi Langlie, who split a kill and block each. The Eagles came back after being down by six at 22-16. Grace Solberg rallied for her team, putting up four consecutive points to tie it up at 22-22.
And the Eagles rode an 8-point run that took them all the way to the finish line, clinching the second set 25-22.
By the third set, the Eagles had shaken off any rust. Solberg put up six of Davies' quick 10 points, splitting between three kills and three aces.
Davies extended its lead to seven (18-11) on a pair of Taylor Wills aces, and two straight Maggie Krueger kills sealed the deal. The Eagles won the third frame 25-13 on a Century attack error.
Both teams played like a state title was up for grabs in the competitive fourth set.
The Patriots and Eagles stayed tight throughout, but the Eagles broke away on a 7-point run to pull ahead (19-13).
Century struggled stopping Davies' hitters Madi Langlie, Solberg and Natalie Hallstrom's kills down the stretch. Down by six at 21-15, the Patriots didn't quit, coming within three on a Fleming kill.
Madi Langlie clinched the set 25-21 with a championship-earning kill. Langlie three-way tied with her sister, Kenzee Langlie, and Jamestown's Kameron Selvig for the Class A senior athlete(s) of the year.
BISMARCK CENTURY (kills-blocks-aces): Clarke 1-0-1 (29 assists), H. Fitterer 16-5-0, J. Fitterer 22-2-1, Fleming 6-9-0, , H. Fletcher 12-8-0, Fridley 5-0-0, Klein 6-0-0, Lill 1-0-0 (31 assists), Markovic 0-0-0 (33 digs), Nissley 11-0-0.
DAVIES (kills-blocks-aces): Cooper 12-2-0, Hall 0-1-0, Hallstrom 7-1-0, Krueger 2-0-0, K. Langlie 0-1-0 (42 assists), M. Langlie 8-1-0 (25 digs), Solberg 14-0-3, Wild 5-4-1, Wills 0-0-2.