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Tom Mix, Published October 03 2013

Fargo Oak Grove tops undefeated Central Cass in volleyball

FARGO – Fargo Oak Grove didn’t enjoy the prospect of going to a fifth set with Central Cass, so the Grovers dug in and closed the match out before it came to that.

It wasn’t easy, but Oak Grove hung on for a 25-23, 25-23, 16-25, 31-29 North Dakota Region 1, District 2 volleyball victory over the undefeated Squirrels on Thursday at Gorder Gymnasium.

A total of 60 points were played in the decisive fourth set. Central Cass rallied from a 21-16 deficit to tie the match at 21-21, and after that there were a total of nine ties until Oak Grove senior middle hitter Hannah Kelley slammed a kill for match point.

“That’s about as good as it gets,” Kelley said for the fourth set. “That’s about as intense as you can get.”

Kelley finished with 17 kills and two blocks for the Grovers (16-4, 3-1 District 2).

Central Cass (21-1, 3-1) had set point on three different occasions but was unable to force a fifth set.

“It was going point for point,” Oak Grove head coach Jennifer Lopez said. “We knew we wanted to get the win, and we were going to get it no matter what it took.”

Oak Grove jumped out to a 2-0 advantage on the Squirrels, who struggled with errors in the early going.

“We struggled on the outside,” Central Cass head coach Chris Hahn said. “Oak Grove outplayed us on defense and also played very well offensively. There is life for us after this match, and we’ll be able to clean some things up.”

The Grovers had four players with five or more kills. Senior outside hitter Jenna Zaeske finished with 14 kills and junior setter Kirsten Bokinskie added seven kills, five blocks, three aces and 47 assists.

“It is good to have that balanced offense,” Lopez said. “It is nice to know we have a lot of girls that can step up and provide us with points.”

Central Cass was paced by 6-foot-3 middle blocker Faith Dooley, who finished with 19 kills and six blocks. Macie Romsdal added 11 kills and three blocks for the Squirrels.

“We kept a good focus on this match,” Lopez said. “It’s been something that we have been working on, so it was nice to see it applied to a match.”

The Grovers have won the last two meetings between the two teams. Oak Grove defeated the Squirrels 3-2 in the semifinals of the Region 1 tournament a year ago.

“Getting a win against a team like Central Cass is always a good thing because they are a very good team,” Kelley said. “We knew if we played together as a team with a lot of energy, we would come out on top. We definitely played with a lot of intensity.”

CENTRAL CASS (kills-blocks-aces): Bresnahan 5-0-0, Erickson 0-0-2 (42 assists), Grommesh 6-0-1, Romsdal 11-3-0, Dooley 19-6-0, Cramer 8-2-0, Goettle 0-0-2.

OAK GROVE: Zaeske 14-0-1, Kelley 17-2-0, Bokinskie 7-5-3 (47 assists), Osmundson 4-1-2, Kounovsky 11-2-1, Sharpe 2-0-0, Lang 0-0-1.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562