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Greg DeVillers / Forum Communications Co. , Published November 17 2012

Century tops Red River for ND Class A state volleyball title

MINOT, N.D. – Grand Forks Red River’s bid for a second straight state championship was blocked – literally – by Bismarck Century.

Century’s blockers played a key role as Century downed Red River 18-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-18 on Saturday in the title match of the North Dakota Class A state volleyball tournament. The outcome was the reversal of a year ago, when Red River beat the Patriots in five sets in the state final.

Century had only seven ace blocks, all by 6-foot senior Hannah Larson. But, Century co-coach Sara Bohrer said, the blocking was about more than just point production.

“We were getting up and getting a lot of touches on the ball with our blocking,” Bohrer said. “All six of the girls we play (at the net) take pride in their blocking. It’s a huge part of our game, and it showed in this match.

“I thought we were able to slow down their hitters. We forced them to alter their shots. We were playing good defense, picking up those slower shots.”

Red River coach Carolyn Olson said her own team’s struggles in other areas hurt the Roughriders’ attack.

“They have big, athletic kids,” Olson said. “But I don’t know if that (blocking) was the difference. We didn’t play our game. We didn’t pass well and we stopped being aggressive.”

Red River used a closing 9-1 run, sparked by two kills and a block by Kaitlin Anderson, to win the the first set. After that, however, it was Century that put up big runs.

The Patriots closed the second set on a 9-1 run, with Larson getting four kills and a block.

“That was a huge momentum swing,” Bohrer said. “We got the momentum and ran with it. We took it into the rest of the match.”

Said Olson: “To be up 19-16 and give up that run, that hurts. We needed to do a better job of serve receiving in order to run our offense. And (Century) did a nice job of serving aggressively.”

Century broke a 7-7 tie in the third set, taking control with an 8-1 run for a 15-8 lead, and closed the set with a 7-2 spurt in which Larson had three kills. Then the Patriots burst in front 21-13 with 11 unanswered points in the final set, with Larson getting four points at the net.

“Hannah was in the front row at key times, and we’re happy about that,” Bohrer said. “She’s led the team in hitting and blocking all season.”

GFRR (kills-blocks-service aces): King 0-0-0 (24 digs), Anderson 11-3-1, Salquist 0-0-0 (36 assists), Steffen 15-2-1, Goodman 4-0-0, Bush 5-2-1, Adam 4-0-0

BC: Kessler 0-0-0 (17 digs), Bohrer 2-0-0, Jossart 9-0-0, Larson 17-7-0, Ali Hasche 11-0-0, Wax 0-0-2, Bense 2-0-3 (35 assists), Chase 0-0-1, Bulawa 8-0-0

All-tournament team

GF Red River: Kaitlin Anderson, Hadley Steffen, Cassidy Bush

Bismarck Century: Hannah Larson, Ali Hasche, Shay Bense

West Fargo: Christina Bruenjes, Amanda Levin

Dickinson: Abby Grove, Ali Moody

Fargo Shanley: Alivia Fraase, Carolyn Mickelson

Jamestown: Meghan Orr

Fargo Davies: Kali Erickson

Bismarck: McKenzie Kiefer

Class A all-state

First team

GF Red River: Hadley Steffen, Cassidy Bush

Fargo North: Kira Larson, Taylor Preston

Fargo Davies: Kali Erickson

Fargo Shanley: Alivia Fraase

Bismarck Century: Hannah Larson, Ashley Bohrer

Dickinson: Ali Moody, Abby Grove

Bismarck: Karli Sanders

Jamestown: Josie Hegerle

Second team

Fargo Davies: Katelyn Olson

West Fargo: Christina Bruenjes, Amanda Levin

Bismarck: Ashlee Hilzendeger

Jamestown: Siri Jystad

Dickinson: Rachel Schroeder

Senior athlete of the year: Kira Larson, Fargo North

Coach of the year: Carolyn Olson, Red River

DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald