Bismarck St. Mary’s is going to be glad when these “firsts” are finished.
Four days after the Saints’ football team lost its first game at its new field, the Saints’ girls volleyball team dropped its first match in the gymnasium.
Mandan won the last two games after dropping two of the first three to post a West Region win over the Saints on Tuesday. The Braves jumped out to an early lead and kept the Saints at arm’s length to win the pivotal fourth game 25-15. They then edged the Saints 15-12 in the fifth game.
“For us it just came down to communication. We had lulls where we were super quiet and we have to have some talking going. There has to be a hum,” Mandan coach Anna Folk said. “We got caught on our heels a lot the first and third games.”
Lakyn Darras had 15 kills and 6.5 blocks to lead the Braves. Aleah Clark added eight kills. Sydney Gustavsson had 33 assists. St. Mary’s was led by Hallie Schweitzer’s 12 kills and five blocks.
The teams split the first two games behind the strong play of their middle hitters. Schweitzer had four kills as the Saints took a 10-3 lead in the first game. But Mandan senior Kambree Jahner served back-to-back aces and the Braves clawed their way back.
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Elizabeth Peyerl’s ace made it 20-17, but the Braves got no closer than 21-18 before the Saints took control. With the Saints leading 24-20, Darras sent a shot just wide to give the Saints the win.
Darras, a senior, was all over the place for Mandan in game two. Following a timeout, Darras had five quick kills and a block as the Braves rolled to a 25-19 win in a game that featured six straight service points from Mandan’s Taylor Fix.
The Saints then pulled away down the stretch to win game three 25-21. But the Braves again came back, taking a 3-0 lead and scoring six of the last eight points of the game to force a deciding fifth game.
In that game, a Darras tip and a misplayed set by the Saints gave Mandan a 2-0 lead and the Saints used a timeout right away. The break worked as they took a 6-4 lead, which led to a Saints’ timeout.
St. Mary’s led 10-9 when Mandan went on a four-point run led by Darras at the net. She had two blocks and a kill, plus a cross-court tip that made it 14-12.
“Our block was great tonight and that saved us,” Folk said. “Having that stability on the front row led to stability on the back row. We knew what was going to happen and we came up with a couple more plays at the end."