The Optimist East-West All-Star Volleyball match Tuesday evening had enough ups and downs for a trampoline convention.
After digging out of three holes, the West team took a 3-2 decision from the East at Century High School's Olson gym. Match scores were 25-18, 26-24, 17-25, 21-25, 15-11.
With the victory, the West earned a sweep of this year's two-match series. The West won 3-1 Monday in West Fargo with all but one of the games decided by two points.
After claiming the first two games, the West seemed to have things under control on Tuesday, but Darian Chwialkowski and the East had other ideas. The East bounced back to force a fifth game, and the final set followed a familiar format.
Riding the momentum gained in the previous two games, the East jumped away to a 7-2 lead in the abbreviated fifth game. The East was still in charge 9-4 when the hosts came alive.
A 10-1 run that featured two blocks and three East hitting errors put the West on top 14-10.
For a brief time the West's surge lapsed, Lexus Mosbrucker hitting wide to make it 14-11. That miscue was temporary, though. Katelyn Selensky came right back with her ninth kill of the night to give the West the game and match.
With the win, the West trimmed the East's lead in the all-time series to 32-24.
In all five of the games the West fell behind in the early going. It extricated itself from just enough of those quandaries to win the match.
The West dug out of a 8-2 hole in the first game and a 9-1 deficit in the second game.
In the third and fourth sets the hosts were unable to overcome early shorfalls of 11-5 and 11-4.
Although the East seemed to have the momentum edge going into game five, Mosbrucker, a 5-foot-10 hitter from Bismarck High School, said there was no trace of panic on the West bench.
"As a team we got super-close. ... As a team we never got down. We knew we needed to step it up. We realized this is our game and we're going to get it done," she said. "We came together and just had a blast."
Mosbrucker, who had 17 kills on Monday night, turned tiger again on Tuesday, launching 20 kills to go with 16 digs. Not bad for a girl who was initially an alternate.
"These (West) girls in general just kind of brought the love I have for volleyball out," she said. "I wasn't afraid to make a mistake."
Mosbrucker said she and her 11 West teammates became a true team in less than a week's time.
"It's crazy to think how close we got and how much chemistry we developed in such a short time," she said.
Mosbrucker is bound for Sioux City, Iowa, for her college career. She will play volleyball and run track at Briar Cliff University.
Other leaders in the winning effort were Megan Gaffaney of Jamestown with 23 assists, Selensky of Century with nine kills and 14 assists, Hannah Schiele of Jamestown with 20 digs and Rylee Terrel of Minot with three aces.
Leading the way for the East were the 5-11 Chwialkowski of West Fargo with 19 kills and two aces, Reagan Ingstad of Valley City with 23 assists, Taylor Sabinash of Medina-Pingree-Buchanan with three blocks, Maggie Steffen of Grand Forks Red River with 17 digs and Rachel Hill of Langdon with three aces.
As competitive as the five-match fray was, both head coaches noted the all-star series is not a win-or-else enterprise.
"Of course you want to win, but it's not about winning or losing. Its about the memories that are made along the way," said East coach Laurie Good. "These are definitely fun times.
Good said was proud of the amount of grit her team displayed.
"They didn't give up, let down and die. It was fun to watch them fight," she said.
West coach Jamie Zastoupil had much the same outlook.
"What these girls will remember about this is not the wins or losses, but the friends they made," she observed. "... This group was unbelievable the way they fought together and worked together. This was a battle of two really good teams."