FARGO — Northern Cass jumped out to quick leads in all three sets as it swept Dickinson Trinity 25-12, 25-23, 25-15 in the North Dakota Class B volleyball tournament quarterfinals on Thursday at the Fargodome. The No. 4 Jaguars will play No. 1 Linton-HMB in the semifinals on Friday.
Northern Cass raced out to a 7-2 lead in the first set, a 5-2 lead in the second, and a 6-2 lead in the third. Jaguars coach Angie Johnson said getting off to fast starts and playing with a lead was a focus all week.
“We’ve been working on playing ahead — we’ve set the score at practice to work on starting ahead and finishing,” Johnson said. “Just to see what we’ve worked on and have them have that mentality when we get out on the court is important. We’re playing good teams, they’re going to have big kills and we’re going to have big kills. We can’t let them get in their heads.”
The Northern Cass defense didn’t let anything fall. They were strong at the net, totaling 14 blocks and had help behind it when the Titans got the ball past the front line. The back line went all out to dive after balls and keep everything alive.
Emma Lucas and Morgan Nelson each had three blocks, Jenna Maker had two and Sarah Yoney and Karissa Hammer had one each. Abby Rasmussen led with 20 digs, while Lucas had 18 and Yoney and Halle Crockett each had 12.
“They were going for everything,” Johnson said. “I haven’t seen some ups like that all season. It is great to see that transfer. We worked on a lot of defense and blocking this week just to prepare us to face some of these teams we’re going to see this weekend.”
Morgan Nelson had 10 kills for the Jaguars, while Emma Lucas had nine and Halle Crockett had six. Abby Richman had five aces, while Yoney and Lucas each had three.
The Titans kept things tight in the second set, staying within a point or two the whole way. They tied the match at 6, 7, 8 and 12. A 4-0 Trinity run got them within a point at 20-19. But the Jaguars held on and sealed the set with a Nelson kill.
“Tomorrow is not going to be a three-set match. It’s going to be a battle,” Johnson said. “So for us to go back and forth in that second set and come away with a win was great to see. It was good for them to go through that mentality and push through.”