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Glenn Pursley, Published November 12 2013

Northern Cass earns spot in Region 1 title match

KINDRED, N.D. – It may have taken Northern Cass a set to find its pace, but after that it never lost its stride – sending the Jaguars to the North Dakota Class B, Region 1 volleyball title match.

Middle hitter Erin McDonald collected 12 kills and three blocks while Vanessa Johnson added 17 kills to lead the Jaguars to a 16-25, 25-9, 25-22, 25-21 win over defending champs Kindred Tuesday in a region semifinal match at Kindred High School.

“Once we get in the system and get things moving, it usually turns out pretty good for us,” McDonald said. “It feels good. We just have to come out aggressive Thursday and not let them get in our heads.”

Northern Cass will play either Central Cass or Fargo Oak Grove in Thursday’s championship match for a berth to next week’s Class B state tournament in Minot.

Kindred took Set 1 thanks to a pair of aces from Madeline Braaten and a pair of kills from Tessa Heitkamp. Sydney Otterson would follow with an ace and Madison Erickson closed out the set, finding the open court in the corner for the 25-16 win.

“The one thing Kindred always does well is serve tough and it puts a lot of pressure on our serve receive,” Jaguars head coach Tom Klapp said. “I don’t know if we weren’t quite ready for that or they had us on our heels, but the girls responded well.”

Whatever the issue was, it wasn’t present in set two.

At the service line, Cassie Hilde led the Jaguars on a five-point run to go up 6-1. She would lead an eight-point run later in the set to extend the lead to 15 points before Johnson put it away in the back corner of the court to win 25-9.

“We really wanted to get them in that second set and we knew that we needed too,” said Johnson, the “We really wanted to win, we were not going to go down without a fight.”

Paige Verwest had 12 kills, an ace and led the Jaguars in digs with 11. Bree Olson was the assist leader with 38 and had two aces. Hilde led the team in blocks with five.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5549