FARGO — Thompson jumped out to a fast start and hardly slowed down as it swept Flasher 25-12, 25-20, 25-20 in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B state volleyball tournament on Thursday at the Fargodome.
“Coming out fast was huge,” Tommies coach Lisa Strand said. “That first one is always a determiner of the psyche of volleyball. Getting that first one and getting it in the big way really does set the tone for the next two — or four if that’s what it takes. But fortunately for us we were able to get our hits to fall and keep them out of system.”
Thompson started the first set on a 5-1 run with kills by Mya Krogstad, Alexis Telehey, and Jada Welke.
Flasher jumped back with three straight points to make it 7-5. But the Tommies responded with a 6-0 run. Madeleine Stefonowicz started the run with a kill and a Bailey Munson ace.
The Bulldogs didn’t go down easily to end the first set. Trailing 24-9 with Thompson on the verge of sealing it, they ran off three-straight points before a fault gave it to the Tommies.
They carried that momentum into the second set and made life a little tougher for Thompson.
The Bulldogs went on a 6-1 run early in the second set to make it a 2-point game at 12-10 and got within a point at 16-15. But Thompson closed it out with back-to-back kills by Mackenzie Hughes.
The Tommies jumped out to a 5-1 lead, then an 8-3 lead in the third set and kept Flasher at arm’s length from there. The Bulldogs never cut the deficit down past three the entire set. Telehey had three kills down the stretch and Krogstad had the match-winner.
“We started out really strong and the girls were ready and hungry,” Strand said. “Then we let them get their groove and their middle hitters are really tough. Luckily we had a little bit of practice against a quick-hitting team like that and we were able to get some touches on it.”
Hughes had a double-double with 10 kills and a team-high 21 assists and tallied three aces. Telehey led the Tommies with 18 kills, while Krogstad, Stefonowicz, and Alexis Zafke each had five.
Strand said it was a big step to get the first win out of the way and gain experience playing in the Fargodome.
“I think we got some of the nerves out of our system,” the coach said. “Now they know what it feels like to play on this court. That is big. This is a big venue with a lot of space ceiling-wise and everything else. The depth perception is tough, but we’ve got that down now. Now whoever wins the next one, we’re ready for them.”