FARGO-The volleyball players from Bismarck High have found their confidence-a confidence that broke a six-year streak of losing first-round games at the state tournament and a confidence that has the Demons in the championship match of this year's North Dakota Class A tournament at the Fargodome.
After beating Bismarck Legacy for the first time this season 22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-22 in Friday's semifinals, Bismarck will play in Saturday's title game against another team it has yet to beat: Bismarck Century.
"We know they are a very good team," said Bismarck junior Lexus Mosbrucker. "But we know we can hang with them. This game can be ours if we keep playing together like we have been."
The last time Bismarck won a state title was in 2010, the last time the Demons won a first-round game at state. Century, of course, will be playing in its sixth straight state championship match and will try to defend its 2015 title.
During the season, Century beat Bismarck 3-1, 3-1 and 3-0-the last coming in the Western Dakota Association tournament semifinals.
"We know what they are coming with ... they are more offensive than Legacy," said Bismarck head coach Shari Hewson, who said she has seen her team mature throughout the season. "They were struggling with confidence. But I could see glimpses of that confidence. Now they are playing with it and it shows."
It showed after Bismarck fell behind 1-0 to Legacy-a team it lost to 3-0 and 3-2 during the regular season. But a 5-0 run in the second set gave Bismarck a 21-16 lead and sparked them to a 27-25 win.
In the third set, Bismarck jumped out to a 21-12 lead and won 25-19. And trailing 22-18 in the fourth set, Bismarck scored the final seven points to win 25-22.
"It doesn't matter that we lost to them (Legacy) twice," said Mosbrucker, who had 13 kills in the semifinal match. "It's not that we didn't think we could win before against them, but we finally realized that we are the better team."
Bismarck will take a 27-15 record into Saturday's 6 p.m. championship against Century, which boasts a 40-2 record. Legacy, meanwhile, will take a 33-10 record into the third-place match against Fargo Shanley.
BISMARCK (kills-block-aces): Kivisto 0-0-2 (19 digss), Haussler 14-0-1 (20 digs), Glasser 3-0-0 (18 digs), Oja 2-1-1 (44 assists), Andre 10-2-2, Schwab 10-3-0, Mosbrucker 13-1-0, Heisler 6-1-0.
LEGACY: Murphy 5-1-1 (40 assists, 17 digs), Schatz 4-3-0, Baumgartner 4-0-4 (12 digs), Anklam 0-0-0 (19 digs), Feland 12-2-0, Thomas 17-3-3 (15 digs), Rants 0-0-0 (13 digs), Riehl 8-0-0, Allmaras 0-0-0.