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Tom Mix, Published November 21 2013

Deacons win in tight sets against Bismarck at state volleyball

MINOT, N.D. – Fargo Shanley passed its first test at the Minot State Dome.

The Deacons defeated Bismarck 25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23 during the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class A state volleyball tournament on Thursday.

Every set was tight.

Shanley – the East Region’s top seed – and West Region, No. 4-seeded Bismarck appeared more evenly matched than the seeds indicated.

“I think this was a good test for us,” Shanley head coach Curt Johnson said. “Every match is going to be close at state. Bismarck played very well defensively, and I think that helps us prepare for the rest of the matches we play here.”

Junior middle blocker and University of North Dakota volleyball commit Alivia Fraase led the way for the Deacons with 20 kills, two blocks and 21 digs.

Shanley (30-2) advances to play Jamestown in the semifinals at 6 p.m. today. The Demons (22-16) play Grand Forks Red River in the noon consolation semifinals match.

“Bismarck is a great team, and we knew it was going to be a tough match,” said Shanley sophomore outside hitter Sarah Jacobson, who finished with six kills and team-high 29 digs. “We had to play as hard as we could and luckily it went our way.”

Shanley won the first set but allowed the Demons to rally late in the opener. Bismarck rattled off a 6-2 rally to pull within 23-20, but back-to-back errors out of a timeout gave Shanley the advantage.

The Demons almost let late errors allow Shanley to go up 2-0, but Bismarck evened the match 1-1.

“We expected Bismarck to come out strong,” Johnson said. “They really put it to us and made it very difficult to pull out a victory.”

The third and fourth sets were back and forth, but Shanley put the match away when Fraase got her final kill to hit the floor for match point.

Shanley never trailed in the fourth set, but the Demons were within one point of the Deacons eight times.

“We were a pretty good match for them I thought,” Bismarck head coach Jessica Nichols said. “It came down to Shanley being just a little more aggressive with their attacks at the end.”

Senior middle blocker Natalee Todd led the Demons with 14 kills and two blocks.

Junior Somer Bucholz added 13 kills for the Deacons.

BISMARCK (kills-blocks-aces): Alison Fisher 2-0-0 (24 digs, 2 assists), Morgan Miller (10-1-0 (23 digs), Sadie Luetzen 0-0-1, McKenzie Kiefer 1-0-1 (15 digs, 40 assists), Taylor Hoekstra 0-0-1 (13 digs), Natalee Todd 14-2-0, Jenna Binstock 6-1-1 (11 digs), Estee Schmidt 5-1-0, Kaitlin Leier 5-0-0, Shelby Arman 3-0-0.

SHANLEY: Alivia Fraase 20-2-0 (21 digs), Hannah Krauter 0-0-0 (20 assists), Madeline Stark 5-3-0 (2 digs), Sarah Jacobson 6-0-1 (29 assists), Ashley Hoganson 0-0-0 (8 digs), Sydney Weber 4-0-0 (3 digs, 3 assists), Lauren Sandy 2-2-1 (25 assists, 2 digs), Somer Bucholz 13-1-0 (14 digs).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562