After earning its fourth straight Class B Region 7 volleyball championship on Nov. 14, The Titans return to the Fargodome in hopes of bringing home the NDHSAA State Championship, starting with its first game against fifth-seeded Northern Cass on Thursday.
The Titans ended the regular season 11-0 in the region, and 22-1 overall. Following its victory over Hettinger-Scranton, the team was seeded fourth in the upcoming state tournament and is set to play the Jaguars (11-0 Class B Region 1, 18-1 overall) to close out the first day of the state tournament. The Titans played its best volleyball of the season on Saturday against the Night Hawks, but hopes to continue that play on Thursday.
"The girls have practiced really hard all week," head coach Breanna Sisson said. "I think we're prepared for tomorrow, we're prepared for this week and weekend. We just want to show up, do our best, be aggressive, and be big."
The Titans will continued to be led by senior hitters Amaya Willer and Abbey Kubas for the majority of the Titans' offense. In the region 7 tournament, the duo combined 66 kills, 12 aces and nine blocks. The Titans will also look for junior setter Kali Kubas to continue her solid year of productivity. The junior ended the tournament with 98 assists, six aces, two kills, and two blocks.
"They just need to be swinging and that goes for all of our hitters," Sisson said. "It's going to put their defense into some situations where they might be riding out a system. We have five great hitters up front where they're all a threat and it's going to be hard for other teams to track our hitters.
"All five of our hitters really need to bring the aggression and be big at the net," Sisson added.
As for Northern Cass, the Jaguars are coming into the game with majority of its wins coming in 3-0 sweeps. However, the only time the team lost this season came in a sweep loss to Thompson High in September. For size, the majority of the team is equipped with 5-foot-10-inch athletes, but does feature a six-foot-zero-inch hitter in ninth-grader Josie Jensen. The Titans will be looking to stop Jensen and the other well-known hitters from finding its target.
"We know that Northern Cass is a big team, we need to counteract that" Sisson said. "Our defense have to be focused. They need to read the ball off the hitters hand, making sure they're reading what that hitter is doing. Most importantly, they need to be loud and scrappy. That pursuit of the ball has to be there."
While most teams would feel pressure, that may not be the case for the Titans which has been to the tournament for four consecutive seasons. The Titans hope the experience helps push the team to the championship and return to Dickinson with the title.
"I think the experience is definitely going to be on our side this weekend," Sisson said. "We've played at this stage before, we've played at the Fargodome before, I think we have an idea of what the atmosphere is going to feel like. It can be definitely different and it's such a big space to play in so that experience is going to be helpful.
"I think once we get settled in, hopefully in that first set, the nerves will kind of subside and we can just go strong and play our game," Sisson added.
The Titans and Jaguars are scheduled to take place on Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. MST.