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Tom Mix, Published November 23 2013

Northern Cass defeats LaMoure in ND Class B state volleyball championship

MINOT, N.D. – The dream season ended in a state volleyball championship for Northern Cass.

The Jaguars defeated LaMoure 23-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-16 during the championship match of the North Dakota Class B tournament on Saturday at the Minot State Dome.

“When we walked into practice the first day, our goal was to get to state,” Northern Cass senior setter Brianna Olson said. “Now that we have won a championship, it is so surreal. It is unbelievable.”

The season began with big expectations, with the Northern Cass roster featuring eight seniors out for one last shot at making it to Minot.

The Jaguars not only made it. They won it.

“Every single match has led to this,” said senior outside hitter Vanessa Johnson, who recorded a match-high 27 kills. “I felt like we worked for it, and we deserved it. I’m so excited. It has taken four years to get here. I have dreamed about this. This is what we were looking forward to the last four years.”

Johnson’s 27 kills tie the Class B state championship match record.

The championship is the first-ever state title in any team sport for the Jaguars (33-4-2).

“It was state or bust,” Northern Cass head coach Tom Klapp said. “Once we got here we thought we may as well win the thing. We made this our goal Day 1. I know everyone says that, but we really believed it.”

“We were talking about this since summer, and now to say that we accomplished it feels amazing,” added Northern Cass junior middle blocker Erin McDonald, who added eight kills and five blocks for the Jaguars.

Northern Cass fell behind 1-0, but recovered to win three straight from the Loboes (35-4-1). LaMoure also was making its first appearance in the Class B title match.

“I wasn’t too worried,” Klapp said. “I was waiting for them to get into their rhythm and get their nerves out. Once they did that, they took over.”

Junior Cheyenne Hanson recorded match point with an ace serve.

Senior outside hitter Courtney Carlson led the Loboes with 17 kills and 28 digs. Eighth-grader Anna Holen added 16 kills and 18 digs for LaMoure.

“They really came on out on the attack,” LaMoure head coach Laurie Good said of the Jaguars. “We seemed to just back off when we needed to go hard at it. They’re a good team.”

Senior outside hitter Paige Verwest added 13 kills for the Jaguars.

Northern Cass becomes the third straight team from Region 1 to win the Class B championship. Central Cass won in 2011 and Kindred won in 2012.

LAMOURE (kills-blocks-aces): Jade Wagner 0-0-0 (20 assists, 12 digs), Anna Holen 16-0-1 (18 digs), Katrina Hoff 2-0-0 (7 digs), Courtney Carlson 17-2-1 (28 digs), Abby Warken 0-0-0 (28 digs), Talitha Hirschkorn 2-0-0, Jackie Meiklejohn 0-0-4 (17 assists), Kennedy Witt 1-1-0, Siri Armitage 0-2-0.

NORTHERN CASS: Cheyenne Hanson 0-0-2 (16 digs), Vanessa Johnson 27-1-0 (17 digs), Cassie Hilde 6-3-0, Erica Hoggarth 0-0-0 (23 digs), Brianna Olson 0-0-1 (48 assists, 19 digs), Ciara Mitzel 3-0-0, Paige Verwest 13-0-0 (24 digs), Erin McDonald 8-5-1 (7 digs, 3 assists).

All-state tournament team

Grant County: Sydney Bentz; Thompson: McKenna DeMoe, Sharron Galegher, Shaice Marx. Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood: Callie Carlson; Beulah: Delaney Johansen; Stanley: Chai Pappa, Brianna Holland, Angela Nielson. LaMoure: Courtney Carlson, Anna Holen, Kennedy Witt; Northern Cass: Brianna Olson, Vanessa Johnson, Erin McDonald. Carrington: Madison Wendel, Kayla Hochhalter.

All-state team

Faith Dooley, Sr., Central Cass; Vanessa Johnson, Sr., Northern Cass; Jordan Johnson, Sr., Hatton-Northwood; Shannon Galegher, Sr., Thompson; Tiffaney Gerving, Jr., Linton-HMB; Brenna Downs, Sr., Langdon Area. Sarah Hagler, Jr., North Star; Madison Wendel, Sr., Carrington; Heidi Clausen, Sr., Wilton Wing; Sydney Bentz, Jr., Grant County; Gabbie Bohl, Jr., Bishop Ryan; Morgan Olson, Fr., Minot Our Redeemer’s; Lankin Kessler, Sr., Beulah; Jaime Murschel, Jr., Beulah; Chai Pappa, Sr., Stanley. Paige Dolan, Sr., Ray.

Class B Senior Athlete of the Year: Chai Pappa, Stanley

Class B Coach of the Year: Lisa Strand, Thompson

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