FARGO — The good ship Century Volleyball sailed right on through Thursday’s quarterfinal round of the state Class A volleyball tournament.
Century, the top seed from the West Region, swept Devils Lake 3-0 to run its winning streak to 12 matches and stay on course in its bid for a third straight state championship.
A sophomore and freshman provided the big push offensively. Lauren Ware, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, cranked out 15 kills and blocked six shots. Julia Fitterer, a 5-10 freshman, chipped in 11 kills for the Patriots, who improved to 32-8.
Century head coach Jamie Zastoupil talked about the huge upside for both young athletes.
“Lauren has a big effect. She’s good player and a confident player. She’s one of those players who gets better every time she touches the ball,” Zastoupil said.
Fitterer, who joined the varsity in midseason, was a major cog in the offense on Thursday.
“We’re really proud of Julia. She has stayed consistent with her swing, and this gives her confidence going into the rest of the tournament,” Zastoupil said. “Her swing was really good tonight.”
Devils Lake fell into a 5-0 hole at the outset of the first game and trailed the rest of the way. The Firebirds kept battling, however, and closed the gap to 21-18 before Century took charge by scoring four of the final six points. That run included a game-winning block by Ware and Bailee Blickensderfer.
The teams played even at 8-8 in the second game, but Century dominated the rest of the way, winning 25-10.
Century got out of the starting blocks well in the third game, taking an 8-1 lead. Devils Lake battled back to even the score at 15, but that proved to be the end of the line. Century prevailed 25-20.
Megan Anderson followed Ware and Fitterer in the scoring column with eight kills. Setter Katelyn Selensky turned in five blocks to go with her 32 assists, and Allison Abel and Mya Klein each served two aces.
Juniors Mattea Vetesch and Kyleigh Toso were the top Firebird hitters with eight and six kills, respectively.
With the victory, Century improved its state tournament winning streak to seven matches. The Patriots return to the Fargodome tonight for a 7 p.m. semifinal.
Devils Lake drops into the consolation bracket with a 21-15 record.