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Published November 13 2010

EDC volleyball tournament: Deacons best Bruins in semifinals

GRAND FORKS – This year the Fargo Shanley volleyball team cried tears of joy and relief instead of tears of disappointment and frustration.

The Deacons erased the memory of state play-in game losses the last two years with a 32-30, 25-17, 20-25, 25-15 win against Fargo South in the Eastern Dakota Conference tournament semifinals Friday night at Red River High School.

“This was the best thing that has ever happened in my life,” said senior middle hitter Hillary Rotunda, who finished with 13 kills and eight blocks to lead Shanley to its first conference title match appearance in coach Wendy Zeiher’s 11 seasons. “It’s so amazing. We wanted this so bad.”

Shanley, which earned the No. 2 seed in the EDC tournament, was a top regular-season team each of the last two seasons.

But the Deacons faded late in each year, and found themselves on the outside of the state tournament at season’s end.

This year, however, Zeiher said she had a feeling things could be different. Shanley was again strong throughout the year, and never seemed rattled by a loss.

“It’s just a relief,” she said. “Win or lose tomorrow, it doesn’t matter. We are going to state. We got that big win. One of our biggest things was trying to get through those big four. It’s West Fargo, South, North and Red River. For us, it’s just exciting to get in.”

Shanley set the tone by outlasting the Bruins in a marathon first set.

The Deacons then pulled away late in a close second set to put themselves on the brink of their first state tourney since 2006.

“We made a lot of errors,” South coach Sarah Lacher said. “We needed to control our errors and bring the momentum back on our side.”

The Bruins gave Shanley a few more tense moments with a win in the third set.

The Deacons, which received major contributions at the net from Rotunda, Rachel Weir, Bethany Sandy and Kaitlyn Carlson, stayed composed and set off a tear-filled celebration when they closed out South in Set 4.

Shanley will play Grand Forks Red River at 4 p.m. today for the EDC title.

“We definitely had a countdown from the beginning,” Rotunda said. “We were counting up to five, then 10, then 15. We were the first ones to all those points.”

SOUTH (kills-blocks-aces): Boisjolie 2-0-1 (20 assists), Deyle 0-1-0, Duval 1-0-2, Bramel 8-3-0, Westby 7-0-4, Kruger 11-1-3, Wellentin 9-1-0, Fisher 0-0-0 (21 digs), Roerhich 8-4-1.

SHANLEY: Kanwischer 3-0-3, Sinner 0-1-0, Rotunda 13-8-3, Weir 8-1-0, Sandy 9-0-4 (18 digs), Carlson 10-0-2, Vetter 0-0-0 (35 assists).

Grand Forks Red River 3, Fargo North 1

The Grand Forks Red River volleyball team viewed Fargo North as the major hurdle standing in its way to a lengthy postseason run.

That hurdle was cleared on Friday. With a lot of room to spare.

Senior Emily Asche and sophomore Hadley Steffen combined for 28 kills to lead the Roughriders to a 25-14, 25-21, 25-17 victory against the Spartans in the Eastern Dakota Conference semifinals at Red River High School.

“This opens up a lot of opportunities,” said Asche, whose team will take on Fargo Shanley at 4 p.m. today for the conference crown. “We thought North was one of the teams that was holding us back. So now that we got past them, we can basically do anything.”

The match was much different than the last time the teams met late in the regular season.

Last time, North sophomore Kira Larson blistered the Roughriders for a school-record 31 kills to help the Spartans to a 3-2 win.

On Friday, Red River took Larson out of the equation. She finished with just six kills.

“In practice we worked on blocking a ton,” said Asche, whose team assured itself a spot at state with the win. “That was our main focus tonight.”

Red River was strong on the attack, on defense and, most important, on the block. Asche and Annika Strand each finished with four blocks, helping fluster North hitters Larson, Keli Johnson and Maren McGurran.

Now it’s back against the wall-time for North.

A win against Wahpeton at noon today puts the team in the state tournament. A loss ends a promising season.

“We did not step out ready to play,” Spartans coach Melissa Wilson said. “To me, that’s a gut check. Are you going to figure out what happened tonight? To be back-and-forth and then all of the sudden just let them take control? Every team wants it. So how are they going to respond?”

NORTH (kills-blocks-aces): Marty 0-0-0 (14 digs), Daly 1-0-0, Rindy 2-1-1, Johnson 9-1-2 (13 assists), Larson 6-1-1, McGurran 6-0-0, Lopez 3-1-0, Brewer 0-0-0, Preston 0-0-0, Thorstensen 4-0-0.

RED RIVER: Steffen 15-2-0, Asche 13-4-0, Ronkowski 7-1-5, Strand 2-4-0, Christian 0-0-0 (28 assists), Robinson 0-0-0 (12 digs).

Loser-out match

West Fargo 3, Devils Lake 0

Katelyn Holland tallied 12 kills and five aces for West Fargo, helping secure a 25-16, 25-15, 25-14 victory over Devils Lake in a loser-out match.

Jill Gustafson had three aces and was the assist leader with 13.

WF (kills-blocks-aces): Gustafson 4-0-3 (13 assists), Peart 10-0-2, Miller 0-0-3, Holland 12-0-5 (7 digs), Nelson 0-7-0, Hummel 1-0-0, Woodbury 0-0-2 (7 digs), Bruenjes 0-1-0 Schnepf 0-0-0 (7 digs).

DL: Larson 2-0-0 (6 digs), T. Wade 2-2-0, K. Wade 6-3-1, Wang 2-0-0 (10 assists), Mertens 3-0-0, Turck 3-2-0, Tollefson 0-0-0, Swanson 0-0-0, Knowski 0-0-0, Prozinski 1-1-0.

Loser-out match

Wahpeton 3, Fargo Davies 2

Katelyn Kleven recorded 14 kills and three aces for Wahpeton, leading the Huskies to a 25-20, 22-25, 28-26, 14-25, 15-10 victory against Fargo Davies in a loser-out match.

Jordyn Braun was the assists leader for the Huskies with 47. Katelyn Kleven also had 44 digs.

W: (kills-blocks-aces): Ka. Kleven 14-4-3 (44 digs), Fischer 13-0-0, Ke. Kleven 11-4-0, W. Klosterman 10-5-0, M. Klosterman 0-3-1, Braun 0-0-0 (47 assists).

FD: Bork 7-0-4, Papachek 3-2-0, Luistro 1-1-0, Wawers 6-0-0, Naylor 1-0-2, Neal 0-0-0, Haremza 0-0-0 (29 digs), Syverson 1-0-2 (18 assists), Grabarkewitz 1-1-0, Hildre 12-3-0, Weston 9-1-1.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com