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Century advances to championship match with tight 3-0 sweep

Century advances to championship match with tight 3-0 sweep

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On a roll, you say? Yes, Century's volleyball team is on a roll. How can a team with 23 straight wins not be?

The Patriots claimed their 17th 3-0 sweep of the season against Fargo Davies on Friday in the semifinals of the state Class A tournament at the Fargodome. But not all sweeps are created equally.

A look inside the linescore shows that each game was a dogfight -- 27-25, 25-22, 25-23. Not much margin for error there.

CHS coach Jamie Zastoupil looked at the bright side after her team slugged it out with the East Region runner-up. She said the Patriots ability to win three straight grinders shows there's plenty of grit in her players.

"The girls played really well. Davies is a really good team. They fought for every point. I'm really pleased with the way we played and the outcome," Zastoupil said.

By vanquishing Davies, Century earned a spot in the state championship match for the tenth straight season. The Patriots have won five state championships in that span and seven overall.

Century faces West Fargo today at 7 p.m. for the championship. West Fargo rolled over Jamestown 3-0 in Friday's second semifinal to improve to 28-2. The Packers have won their last 10 matches. Century was ranked No. 1 in the final statewide volleyball poll. West Fargo was No. 2.

Davies tangles with Jamestown for third place at 4 p.m.

Julia Fitterer, a 5-10 senior who is playing in her fourth state tournament, continued her strong postseason play against Davies. She whacked 15 kills and added 22 digs, giving her 72 kills and 87 digs in five regional and state tournament games.

Zastoupil said Fitterer can be counted on to perform night-in and night-out.

"Julia is really consistent for us. She's able to find the floor and play well defensively. That's what we look for most from her," Zastoupil said. "She's able to put the ball away, and is very smart about it. ... The team has really been able to spread the ball out and get a lot of hitters involved the last two weeks. That leaves Julia open more."

 Logan Nissley, a 5-10 sophomore, supplied 11 kills for the Patriots. Senior Jocelyn Julson led a strong back row effort with 30 digs. 

Zastoupil said the match was what the score indicates -- point after hotly contested point.

"We really went point-for-point. The second set we had to come back from a little deficit. In the third set we started down 5-1 and 9-3 ... but once we got halfway through, we had and kept the lead," she said.

Zastoupil gave her team credit for a strong defensive effort against talented team.

"Davies is a well-rounded and disciplined team with a libero who had had a lot of really good digs. They have a balanced offense, and I thought the girls adjusted well to that."

Zastoupil said the Patriots have been getting progressively stronger as they continue to overcome an injury to senior middle Sarah Fleming, whose season ended Oct. 31 with a re-injured ACL.

"I feel like those players filling in for Sarah are getting comfortable in that role, and that's been a good game-changer for us," she said.

The Patriots will meet a potent opponent tonight, according to Zastoupil.

They're a well-disciplined team with a lot of weapons in the front row, for sure. They've had a lot of success and they play with confidence. ... But Legacy really gave them a run for their money (in the quarterfinals)," she observed.

West Fargo 3, Jamestown 0

Jamestown gave West Fargo a battle in the first game before falling 26-25, but the Packers controlled the rest of the match.

 Halle Erickson, a 6-1 senior, paced a West Fargo attack that produced 43 kills to Jamestown's 27. She swatted 15 kills, followed by 5-10 senior Erin Binstock with 14. Binstock added 17 digs, second on the team to senior libero Maddie Waldera's 26.

 Ella Roaldson, a 5-10 senior, had nine kills for Jamestown. Senior Rachel Schiele led the defense with 18 digs.

West Fargo's two losses were 3-2 at Sheyenne in September and 2-0 to Aberdeen (S.D.) Central in an October tournament in Fargo.

Earlier Friday, two West Region teams came up winners in the consolation bracket. Mandan downed Valley City 3-1 and Legacy blanked West Fargo Sheyenne 3-0.

Mandan 3, Valley City 1

Mandan bounced back from a tough quarterfinal loss to Fargo Davies to handle Valley City in four games.

Taylor Leingang, a 5-11 senior, was outstanding on offense with 19 kills. Senior Sydney Gustavsson, a 5-8 setter, had 10 kills and 22 digs to go with her 39 assists.

Junior libero Piper Harris racked up 31 digs on the back row.

Lexi Leroux, a 5-7 senior, was Valley City's primary attacker with 15 kills.

Mandan will face Legacy at 1 p.m. today for fifth place.

Valley City takes on Sheyenne in the seventh-place game at 10 a.m.

Legacy 3, W.F. Sheyenne 0

As was the case with Century, Legacy's 3-0 sweep of Sheyenne was anything but a breeze. The Sabers won the three sets by margins of three, two and three points.

Five-foot-9 junior Breena Sand contributed a team-high 14 kills to the Saber offense and 21 digs to the defensive effort. Senior Kristin Ness supported the defensive effort with 20 digs.

Jadyn Feist, a 5-11 senior, smacked 14 kills and fielded 25 digs for Sheyenne.

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