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Tom Mix, Published November 21 2013

Northern Cass defeats Mohall-L-S in Class B volleyball quarterfinals

MINOT, N.D. – Just when the Northern Cass volleyball team was on the verge of winning its first-ever state tournament match, something unexpected happened.

The lights went out.

A power outage that suspended play at the Minot State Dome for 1 hour, 8 minutes left the Jaguars idle waiting to make program history.

Power was restored, and Northern Cass closed out a 25-18, 25-23, 25-17 win over Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood during the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B tournament.

“We’ll call it the first-time jinx,” Northern Cass head coach Tom Klapp said. “I don’t know what to say, but it was one of those things that was out of our control. It was one of those things where the players had to have a good mentality about it, stay positive and get back into the match. They did a good job with that.”

Northern Cass (31-4-2) advances to the semifinals and will play at 8 p.m. today. The Mavericks (26-10) play in a 2 p.m. consolation match.

The Jaguars owned a 2-0 set advantage and were up 18-12 in the third set when the power went out at 7:07 p.m. An estimated 2,000 customers in north Minot were affected, according to an announcement made by tournament officials.

“It was really hard sitting for that long, but I thought we came back strong and finished the match like we needed to,” said Northern Cass senior outside hitter Vanessa Johnson, who finished with 17 kills, two blocks and 17 digs.

Northern Cass built a 10-1 lead in Set 1. Senior setter Brianna Olson fueled the rally with two ace serves.

The Jaguars used a balanced offense to their advantage, getting seven or more kills from four players.

Junior middle blocker Erin McDonald added 11 kills for Northern Cass.

“Our offense is pretty potent,” Klapp said. “We have five really good weapons we can use. It comes down to our serve receive. When we receive well our offense can get going.”

Junior outside hitter Callie Carlson led the Mavericks with 11 kills and 20 digs.

The Mavericks were making their first-ever state tournament appearance as well.

“It’s the new court, lots of jitters, first time here, loud gym, both courts going,” M-L-S head coach Culynn Solloway said. “There was a lot to deal with, not just the blackout. ... It wasn’t a terrible loss. They played a better game than what we prepared for.”

MOHALL-L-S (kills-blocks-aces): Skylar Aberle 1-0-1 (12 digs), Shania Brackenbury 1-0-0 (25 assists, 7 digs), Krystal Girard 0-0-2 (13 digs), Sierra Smith 6-0-0 (21 digs), Callie Carlson 11-0-0 (20 digs), Alexandra Mott 11-0-1, Shelbi Bahl 0-0-1.

NORTHERN CASS: Cheyenne Hanson 0-0-0 (9 digs), Vanessa Johnson 17-2-0 (17 digs), Cassie Hilde 7-2-0, Erica Hoggarth 0-0-0 (26 digs), Brianna Olson 3-0-2 (41 assists), Ciara Mitzel 1-0-0, Paige Verwest 9-0-0, Erin McDonald 11-0-0 (2 assists, 3 digs).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562