Midnight madness: West Fargo Sheyenne earns first state volleyball title with wild win over Bismarck Century
The Mustangs dethroned the two-time defending champion Patriots in a wild five-set match that stretched into Sunday morning
BISMARCK — When the North Dakota Class A volleyball state tournament championship match between West Fargo Sheyenne and Bismarck Century kicked off on Saturday night, the approximate time at first serve was 10:02 p.m.
Originally slated for an 8 p.m. start, the contest between the East Region top seed Mustangs and the West Region top seed and two-time defending state champion Patriots was pushed back due to consolation matches and the Class B title match running long.
Nonetheless, the highly-anticipated championship bout between Sheyenne and Century started eventually and as the old saying goes, things tend to get wild after dark.
Sure enough, those in attendance at the Bismarck Event Center were in for a doozy. In front of an electric crowd kept energized by tunes such as "Cotton Eyed Joe," "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Shout" blasting over the public address system, the Mustangs and Patriots slugged it out in a five-set showdown that stretched into Sunday morning.
At approximately 12:04 a.m., the Mustangs made it to the promised land. Senior outside hitter Reagan Bogenreif slammed down the final kill and Sheyenne won the fifth set 15-8 and the match 3-2 to earn its first-ever state volleyball title.
FINAL SCORE: West Fargo Sheyenne 3, Bismarck Century 2. Reagan Bogenreif with the final kill and the Mustangs are Class A state champions for the first time in program history. Final set was 15-8 at 12:04 a.m. #NDHSAA #NDPreps | @WFMustangAD pic.twitter.com/GxBlkcuAFC— Ryan Spitza (@RySpitza) November 20, 2022
"It was crazy but we got it. We got it done," an emotional Bogenreif said.
The Mustangs won the opening set 25-21. Century punched back with a 25-22 victory in set two. Sheyenne responded in set three 25-18. The Patriots countered again to win set four 25-23 and force a decisive fifth set. From that point on, it came down to who wanted it more.
"We just said, 'This is our game. We want this more than them,' " Bogenreif said.
Sure enough, the Mustangs prevailed. Tied 4-4 early, Sheyenne tallied the next two points on an antenna violation and a kill from senior outside hitter Kailee Waasdorp.
A four-hit violation made it 10-6 a few rallies later and prompted Century to call timeout. Out of the break, the Mustangs outscored the Patriots 5-2, clinching the match on Bogenreif's kill to win it.
For Bogenreif, notching that final point also served as a bittersweet personal moment she'll never forget.
"It was amazing," a tear-filled Bogenreif said. "I had a grandfather pass away during the season, so it was amazing and it was for him."
Some were oblivious to the fact that it was Sunday morning when the final point was recorded — including Sheyenne head coach Leah Newton.
"I asked some of our coaches, I'm like, 'What time of the night is it anyway?' And I think someone said 12:15 (a.m.)," Newton said. "And I was like, 'At this point, it's OK.' We don't care, it was worth it. Any time is worth it."
The late-night chaos was just the icing on the cake to taking down a Century dynasty that previously won eight state titles in the last 12 years. Both teams entered the contest with records of 34-2 — setting up for a highly-anticipated championship bout between the top seeds.
Given those facts, Newton said it was the greatest match she's ever had the privilege of being apart of.
"To be in a state championship, that's the first time I've experience that at Sheyenne or ever," Newton said. "And then to be able to pull off the win, I don't think anything can beat that."
Newton said she and her players knew that despite going up a set twice, the Patriots would refuse to go away quietly.
"We knew that they would do that," Newton said. "They're a great program. They're tough, they're gritty and so I just told the girls that every point matters. Every piece of a play matters and we just have to keep working together as a team and play really hard together as a team and staying aggressive, I thought, was a huge key for us as we've got to keep attacking at them and try to get them scrambling a little bit."
Waasdorp led the way with 27 kills while recording 28 digs, five blocks and one assist. Bogenreif finished with 16 kills, 29 digs and one ace. Setter Kennedy Colter finished with 10 digs and 40 assists. Setter Brooke Johnson added 27 assists, nine digs and four aces. Sophomore middle hitter Mya Bloedow led the blocks department with six while junior middle hitter Isabelle Albrecht and senior right side hitter Lexus Terhark added five blocks.
"It was honestly amazing," Terhark said. "This team has been working so hard for this and I can't believe we've finally done it. It's been my dream since freshman year."
Senior outside hitter Logan Nissley led Century with 20 kills, 23 digs, one ace and 3 1/2 blocks. Junior setter Quinn Kost recorded 21 assists and 18 digs for the Patriots while sophomore setter Geneva Ding had 21 assists, 12 digs and one ace. Senior middle hitter Claire Bauman and junior outside hitter Eden Fridley each finished with eight kills and 26 digs.
Bauman, Nissley and senior defensive specialist Haven Fitterer were named to the Class A All-Tournament Team. Waasdorp, Bogenreif and Johnson were named to the All-Tournament team for Sheyenne.
Nissley — who recorded her 1,000th career kill in the match — was voted the North Dakota High School Coaches Association Class A Volleyball Senior Athlete of the Year.
Newton was voted NDHSCA Class A Volleyball Coach of the Year.
Newton said it's the fun demeanor the players bring to the table on a daily basis that most appeals to her in her coaching role.
"Because these girls are awesome," Newton said. "They're awesome, they're goofy, they're fun. They're competitors. They're just great people. We have eight seniors and so I've been lucky to coach them pretty close for the last few years and really get to know them. They're just awesome young ladies and it couldn't have happened to a better group of girls."
The Mustangs capped a historic season during which it won its first-ever Eastern Dakota Conference tournament championship ahead of its first state crown.
For the team as well as the Sheyenne students, parents and other supporters who made the trip, they returned to West Fargo a little later than anticipated, but with a trophy in tow.
"I think we're all OK with a long drive home at this point in the night," Newton said. "It means the world to us. First state championship in volleyball — to bring that home is just amazing and we're really proud of it. Our fans were awesome. Their cheering and their support following us everywhere this year has been great, so I think they feel the same."
"I love that people showed up and rode the bus here and made the long drive," Terhark added. "It's just amazing. Our student body really came out tonight."