FARGO — Competitors become teammates when 24 of the state's top high school volleyball seniors will play in this week's North Dakota Optimist volleyball all-star matches.
“It’s a little weird because we are used to playing against each other as competitors, but I have created a lot of friendships,” West Fargo Sheyenne's Olivia Dobrinz said, one of 12 seniors on the East all-star team that will play the West all stars in a 7 p.m. match Monday at Fargo North High School and in a 7 p.m. match Tuesday at Mandan High School.
Bailey Nelson, a recent Northern Cass High School graduate, is an East All-Star with fellow high school teammate Faith Aasen.
“She is one of my best friends and we play the same position,” said Nelson, who plans to play volleyball at Valley City State. “We have played ever since elementary together so it’s been really fun playing with her one last time."
The players seemed to all echo each other with how excited they are to get back out there and compete against one another.
“I'm definitely looking forward to being able to compete again and play with new teammates while trying out new strategies,” said Fargo Shanley's Grace Meir who plans to play volleyball at St. Thomas University in St. Paul.
The two matches give the players one last chance to showcase their skills before the transition to college.
“We are here to have fun and be competitive before we go off in our own direction,” said Dobrinz, who plans to attend the University of North Dakota for academics, majoring in pre-physical therapy.
Lisa Strand, the head coach from Thompson who will help coach the East All Stars, has been selected before to coach in this event.
“It’s an incredible experience,” Strand said. “These kids are so adaptable and are willing to do whatever we ask of them. The level of volleyball is amped up. Their abilities are amazing so it’s a fun time for all of us.”