FARGO — Three schools from the Fargo area have earned spots in the Class A volleyball state tournament.
Fargo Davies, West Fargo Sheyenne, Fargo Shanley and Valley City all earned another week of volleyball after posting Eastern Dakota Conference tournament wins Saturday.
The opening round of the state tournament will be played Thursday, Nov. 21. Davies will enter the tournament as the No. 1 East seed and will play West fourth-seeded Mandan at 1 p.m. at the Fargodome, where all the state tournament matches will be played.
The second-seeded Mustangs face No. 3 West seed Bismarck High at 7 p.m. Third-seeded Shanley will play No. 2 West seed Jamestown at 3 p.m. No. 4 Valley City faces West No. 1 Bismarck Century at 5 p.m.
Fargo Davies 3, West Fargo Sheyenne 0
Carolyn Olson accomplished what not many coaches do in their first year with a new team. The longtime Grand Forks Red River coach came to Fargo Davies this year, elevating an already solid EDC program.
With Olson at the helm, Davies went unbeaten in conference play and clinched the East Region title with a 25-17, 25-20, 25-12 sweep over Sheyenne. The Eagles (30-1) enter the state tournament riding a 26-match winning streak.
"This group of athletes has done a tremendous job. They come in, they work hard everyday," said Olson, the Class A East Region coach of the year. "It's just an incredibly special group of athletes, and they're so deserving of all of the work they put in to accomplish this today."
Davies' Madi Langlie and Kenzee Langlie were named the Class A East Region senior athletes of the year. Kenzee had 37 assists in the match and Madi led the defense with 26 digs. Ava Wild totaled 14 kills to lead the attack.
Senior outside hitter and setter McKenzie Newton distributed 22 assists and six digs for Sheyenne (23-5). Jadyn Feist tallied nine kills and 13 digs.
The first set was back-and-forth early on, but the Eagles eventually pulled away. Davies used an eight-point run to secure the competitive second set. Davies rode that wave for the rest of the match, as the Eagles soared to a 13-point victory in the third.
Fargo Shanley 3, Grand Forks Red River 0
The Deacons downed Red River 25-15, 25-17, 26-24 in a state play-in sweep.
"It's been a good season where we've gotten better every week," Shanley head coach Curt Johnson said. "We were the third seed coming in, and we gave Sheyenne a good run last night, and today we played well.
"It's been our goal all year to be playing those last three," he added. "We just need a three-game winning streak now."
Red River had the first three in the opening set, but it wasn't long before Shanley (17-11) regained control to go up 15-8 and maintain control.
Shanley proved its multi-offensive swingers can hit.
"All of our girls that are in the front row can hit the ball and they love to hit the ball," Johnson said. "We knew as soon as we settled in and got our defense settled down that we'd put the ball away. It's just being consistent."
Shanley cruised to a second-set victory. The Deacons started the frame with three unanswered points and held onto the early lead. Shanley was in control of the third set early, but Red River fought to fend off the eventual sweep. A handful of kills from Kaylee Lancaster helped cut a six-point Shanley lead to one. Two of Lancaster's 12 kills tied it at 23-23 and 24-24 late in the third set.
Valley City 3, West Fargo 2
With a berth to the state tournament at hand, the Packers and Hi-Liners played to a nail-biting five sets in a state play-in match. Valley City came out on top with a 15-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-20, 15-12 win.
"Being a part of the EDC is a really awesome thing, very competitive. But we're kind of a little fish in a big pond," Valley City head coach Mattie Cruff said. "So it just feels really great that our girls are dedicated, they work hard, they push themselves and they got this for themselves."
After losing the first set by 10, Valley City captain Macy Olstad led the momentum-shifting rally in the second frame, tallying seven kills and an ace. Cruff said Olstad's performance was huge.
"She's one of our captains and one of our leaders, and we lean on her quite a bit," Cruff said. "She did an awesome job. She's been our rock, and she helped us stay focused and follow through."
Halle Erickson put up three straight points right off the bat to swing the momentum back to the Packers, which would hold throughout the set. Erickson finished with 10 kills in the match. Erin Binstock led the Packers with 18 kills.
The Packers gained an early five-point lead in the second set, but didn't hold it for long. Valley City stormed back and eventually got the set victory to pull even.
West Fargo again regained control to put Valley City on the brink of elimination.
Trailing 2-1 in the match with their backs against the rope, the Hi-Liners used a hot start in the fourth set and a pair of Cali Halgrimson kills in the fifth to help secure the comeback victory and a spot in the state tournament.