Thompson holds off late Class B upset bid from Shiloh Christian
FARGO — Even with a five-point deficit late in the third set, Lisa Strand saw no reason to panic.
Not yet, anyway.
"I felt if we passed the way we're capable of, we can get back in control,'' Strand, the Thompson High School volleyball coach, said. "If they hit 20 or 21 (points), then I would have been worried. That's when panic sets in.''
As it turned out, there was no need for worry. Thompson rallied from an 18-13 deficit to win the third set. That completed a 25-23, 25-20, 25-21 sweep of Bismarck Shiloh Christian here Thursday, Nov. 16, in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B state tournament.
Thompson turned around momentum with four unanswered points to pull within 18-17. After Shiloh Christian scored on a Tommies error, Thompson came back with six straight points to go up 23-19.
Shiloh Christian was still within 23-21 before a Macy Jordheim kill and a hitting error gave Thompson the win.
"I think our passing and serve receive got better,'' Strand said of the late turnaround.
All three sets were close. Thompson broke a 23-23 tie in the opener, winning on a Jordheim kill and a Taylor Zak block. A 5-0 run in the second gave the Tommies a 21-15 lead and, after Shiloh Christian closed to within 23-20, Thompson closed with a pair of points.
Thompson held a 36-29 advantage in kills, with Jordheim getting 10 and Zak, Izzy Shirek and Kailen Dolleslager seven each.
Another key factor at the net was blocking. With Zak getting 5½ blocks and Dolleslager and Jordheim two each, Thompson held a 9½-6 edge. But there was more to the blocking than statistics for the third-seeded Tommies, who improved to 33-6.
"We struggled with their blocking,'' Skyhawks co-coach Lisa Wingerter said. "They had great blockers.
"I think they probably got into our heads a little bit with it.''
Thompson was a presence at the net although it didn't have great size, with Zak and Dolleslager — both 5-foot-9 — being the tallest Tommies.
"Our girls are pretty short,'' Strand said. "But our middles do a good job of getting up and getting hands on shots.
"I think we frustrated them with our blocking. We got a lot of touches.''
Graycin Wanzak had 11 kills and 3½ blocks to lead 31-5 Shiloh Christian.