FARGO – If Mandan was in the match, it had to be five games.
Mandan, playing its fourth five-game match in a row, eked out a 3-2 victory over Valley City on Saturday to capture third place in the state Class A volleyball tournament.
And it was a tight 3-2, at that. Mandan won the first game 25-23, dropped the next two 22-25 and 20-25 and forced a fifth game by taking the fourth 25-23. The Braves won the clincher 15-13 on Megan Zander’s tip, which concluded a drama that stretched to nearly two hours.
The Braves, who came within a hair’s breadth of reaching the championship match, didn’t play like a No. 4 seed, a fact coach Anna Folk wished to accentuate.
“We proved we earned our spot here and deserved to be here and play with the best,” Folk said.
Folk said the run of five-game matches has its plusses and minuses. “It’s almost expected. We’re playing against really good teams,” she noted.
The Mandan coach, who loses three seniors, looks ahead to next season with enthusiasm.
“Absolutely. It’s a long season … it’s a grind, but these kids are awesome. I wouldn’t trade them for the world,” she observed.
The match, with it’s 215 points, was a statistical cornucopia. Mandan’s Megan Zander and Courtney Olson swatted 16 and 14 kills, respectively. Zander had seven of Mandan’s 18 blocks.
Macy Olstad racked up 23 kills for Valley City, the No. 2 seed from the East Region. Mackenzie Pederson and Cali Halgrimson followed with 13 and 12 tallies, respectively. Pederson was credited with four of Valley City’s blocks.
The two teams combined for 284 digs and 110 assists.
Valley City lost for just the third time in 14 matches.
In earlier consolation-round matches, West Fargo swept Bismarck 3-0 for fifth place and Fargo Davies took seventh with a 3-0 victory over Devils Lake.
West Fargo 3, Bismarck 0
West Fargo made the plays at the end of each game to sweep Bismarck 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 for fifth place.
The victory enabled the Packers to close the season with 27 wins in their final 28 games. The only loss in that run was a 3-2 setback against Mandan in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Kalli Hegerle, a 5-foot-11 senior, was the driving force for the Packers with 15 kills, a block, 14 assists and 10 digs. Next in line was 5-9 senior Tiana Pfaff with nine kills, 10 digs and a block. Darian Chwialkowski, a 5-11 senior, added seven kills and 16 digs.
Seniors Lexus Mosbrucker and Lauryn Andre paced the Bismarck attack with 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
Fargo Davies 3, Devils Lake 0
Fargo Davies, with only one senior on its roster, cruised past Devils Lake in the first two games, but had its hands full in the third set.
Devils Lake got away to leads of 7-1 and 12-5 before Davies righted the ship. The Eagles took their first lead of the game at 18-17 and closed out the match with a 25-22 third-game verdict.
Madison Langlie, a 5-foot-7 sophomore, had 13 kills for Davies.
Devils Lake had a difficult time getting its attack on track. The Firebirds were plagued by 16 hitting errors.