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Century middle hitter Lauren Ware, back facing, uses her height advantage to flip the volleyball over the extended arms of two St. Mary's blockers in the first game of Thursday's quarterfinal match at the West Region tournament in Mandan.

MIKE MCCLEARY, TRIBUNE

Like a machine.

That’s the way the Century volleyball team performed in a 3-0 victory over St. Mary’s on Thursday.

There was a lot of precision in the way the Patriots functioned en route to a 25-19, 25-13, 25-9 victory in the opening round of the West Region volleyball tournament at Mandan High School.

CHS head coach Jamie Zastoupil said Thursday’s dominant effort wasn’t mere happenstance. Consistency was here explanation.

“I thought we played really consistently and didn’t give up on the ball,” Zastoupil said. “Consistency is something we’ve talked about all season.”

Six-foot-4 sophomore Lauren Ware and 5-9 senior Megan Anderson were a double-dose of trouble for St. Mary’s, which had a much better outing against the Patriots at the end of the regular season. Ware rapped 11 kills and blocked 3.5 St. Mary’s hits. Anderson drilled 13 kills and was in on 1.5 blocks.

Ware said she knew tournament time is the time to stand up and be counted.

“We all knew coming into the tournament that we were all new players and some of us had to step up, and I knew I could help with that,” she said.

Ware said a full week of practice had a positive effect on Century’s quality of play on Thursday.

“We only had two days of practice before we played (St. Mary’s) last time. This time we had a big break and we knew it would be a big match for us, so we knew we had to make a statement,” she noted. “So we all pulled together and played our best.”

Zastoupil said she was pleased with Thursday’s effort.

Does it bode well for the remainder of the tournament?

“I hope it does,” she replied. “This match was so big for us. We had one player who had played in the WDA tournament. The confidence we gained tonight is something we’re going to need as we get deeper into the tournament.”

Century, 29-8 on the season with nine straight wins, moves into tonight’s semifinal round, taking on Legacy in a 7 p.m. match. St. Mary’s, 18-20, goes against Minot in a loser-out consolation match at 3 p.m. today. Four teams from the West Region move on to next week’s state tournament in Fargo.

The first game was by far the most competitive in Thursday’s match. Century seemed to be on its way to a one-sided victory with an 18-10 lead when the Saints came alive, outscoring the Patriots 7-2 to cut the deficit to 20-17.

A Century time-out seemed to have the intended effect. The Patriots returned to the court and scored five of the final seven points. Ware put the game away with a kill.

Ware led the way as Century overpowered St. Mary’s in the final two sets.

A 7-2 burst gave CHS a 10-5 lead in the 25-13 second set. Ware had five kills and a block in that game.

Ware contributed four blocks to the final set. Century took command with a 10-2 run that made it 12-4.

“We felt we had to finish up strong,” Ware said of the 25-9 wrapup.

Taylor Gerving and Hallie Schweitzer were the St. Mary’s mainstays. Gerving, a 5-7 junior, finished with seven kills. Schweitzer, a 6-1 sophomore, tallied seven kills to go with a block.

Century played a much cleaner game with four violations, two service errors and four hitting errors. St. Mary’s was called for two violations, five service errors and 14 hitting errors.

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Sports Reporter