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Tom Mix, Published June 18 2012

East cruises past West in High School All-Star volleyball

FARGO – With only three days of playing together, the 12 players on the East All-Star volleyball team appear to have mastered the art of creating on-the-fly team chemistry.

The East cruised to a 25-20, 25-20, 25-19 victory over the West in the North Dakota Optimists and ND High School Coaches Association All-Star volleyball match on Monday at Fargo South High School.

“They just really came together,” East coach Bridget Stowers said. “You never know putting twelve girls who have only practiced for three days are going to play, but they all contributed … They all had good attitudes and that really carried them through the match.”

The two squads play the second match of the series 7 p.m. today at Bismarck Century High School.

Grand Forks Red River standout Annika Strand paced the East with nine kills and an ace serve.

“The match was awesome tonight,” said Strand who won Most Outstanding Athlete honors. “We had so much chemistry on the floor all night. We all had fun … We just clicked. It gives us a little bit of confidence to come off with a sweep tonight and (today) I think we’ll be ready to out there and do it again.”

Kayln Schneider recorded three consecutive service aces and Strand posted five kills in the first set to help the East build an early lead.

The East switched out its lineup in the second set and fell behind early, but took their first lead at 19-18 after a net violation by the West. Fargo Davies standout Paige Weston had two key kills and three blocks in the second set.

“It took them a little while to get their confidence going in that second group when they stepped out on the court,” Stowers said. “Once they got into it, definitely a huge confidence booster for them to keep playing and come back.”

Fargo North’s Keli Johnson recorded seven kills, a block and three ace serves for the East.

“Our energy stayed high throughout the match,” Johnson said. “Even if we had some low point or we were behind we stayed positive.”

Strand recorded a kill for match point to seal the sweep.

The West was led by Bismarck Century standout A.J. Jacobs who finished with 12 kills, two blocks and an ace serve.

“It was a really good match,” Jacobs said. “We had a lot of ups and downs. It was pretty close throughout the match. We got another game (today) and that’s the best thing.”

EAST (Kills-blocks-aces): Johnson 7-1-3, Strand 9-0-1, Barta 2-0-0, Vetter 0-0-0, Bommersbach 2-0-2 (20 assists), Weston 2-3-0, Morris 2-0-0, Dinius 4-1-0, Schneider 4-1-3, Weber 1-0-0, Hart 1-3-0, Thompson 4-1-0.

WEST: Jacobs 12-2-1, Deibert 7-0-0, Glatt 0-0-0, Haugen 3-0-0, Lynch 0-0-3 (19 assists), Reamann 0-0-0, Page 4-1-0, Nelson 0-0-0, Pappa 0-0-0, Artz 0-0-0, Gillund 2-3-2, Steffan 0-0-0.

Most Outstanding Player: Annika Strand.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 451-5651