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Tom Mix, Published November 22 2013

Northern Cass tops Carrington in Class B volleyball semifinal

MINOT, N.D. – The Northern Cass volleyball team is marching to the North Dakota Class B state championship match.

The team’s large contingent of fans has a popular chant that’s titled “Oh when the Jags go marching in.”

The catchy tune has echoed loudly in the Minot State Dome the last two evenings, and on Friday, it was the soundtrack to the Jaguars’ 25-10, 25-17, 17-25, 25-20 semifinal victory over Carrington.

“I’m proud of the girls,” Northern Cass head coach Tom Klapp said. “They have earned this. This is huge for us, our school and our community.”

Northern Cass (32-4-2) plays LaMoure in the championship match set for 6 p.m. today. Carrington (30-8) plays Stanley in the third-place match at 2 p.m.

“Carrington is really good,” said Jaguars senior outside hitter Paige Verwest, who finished with 10 kills. “It goes back and forth like that when two good teams match up. We just came out on top.”

The Jaguars jumped to a commanding 2-0 lead, but the Cardinals regrouped to force a fourth set.

“It is not the first time we have had a moment in a match where we give up points,” Klapp said. “We do that from time to time. Carrington is a good team where if you give them a chance, they are going to take advantage of it, but we were able to get it back.”

Carrington was led by senior outside hitter Kayla Hochhalter, who finished with 12 kills, two blocks, two aces.

“Northern Cass was able to make some adjustments, and that is the sign of great team,” Carrington head coach Sharon Boehmer said.

The Cardinals pulled to within one point of the Jaguars three times late in the fourth set, but each time Northern Cass got a kill from senior outside hitter Vanessa Johnson to regain a two-point cushion.

“I was really glad and relived,” Johnson said. “We really wanted that one. We wanted to end it right there.”

Johnson recorded back-to-back aces that put the Jaguars in position to grab match point, which was scored by a kill from Verwest.

“I just had to stay confident,” Verwest said. “Every hitter on our team can put the ball away. I just had to be confident in that spot.”

Junior middle blocker Erin McDonald added 10 kills and two ace serves for the Jaguars.

CARRINGTON (kills-blocks-aces): Jacey Engelhorn 7-0-0 (14 digs), Brooke Rosenau 1-0-0 (24 assists, 4 digs), Page Anderson 0-0-0 (6 digs), Claire Endres 1-1-0, Savanna Buskness 1-0-0 (5 digs), Madison Wendel 11-3-2 (13 digs), Kayla Hochhalter 12-2-2 (19 digs).

NORTHER CASS: Cheyenne Hanson 0-0-0 (9 digs), Vanessa Johnson 23-0-3 (18 digs), Cassie Hilde 6-1-0, Erica Hoggarth 0-0-0 (22 digs), Brianna Olson 0-0-0 (44 assists, 6 digs), Ciara Mitzel 2-0-0, Paige Verwest 10-1-0 (15 digs), Erin McDonald 10-1-2.

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