MINOT-Sadie Hansen's job is to find the hitter with the hot hand and keep feeding her the volleyball.
There were no wrong choices Thursday for Hanson, the setter for the Oakes High School team. The Tornadoes showed their balance in a 25-11, 25-17, 25-12 win against Dickinson Trinity in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B state tournament.
"They were all just awesome,'' said Hansen, who had 20 assists. "The back row was doing a great job passing me the ball. I tried to spread (sets) around. Everyone hit so well. And this isn't unusual for us.''
Nicole Schmitz had a match-high 11 kills to lead the Tornadoes. Jaida Seyer added six as six players contributed kills.
"We knew (Schmitz) and (Marisa Garza) were big hitters for them,'' Trinity coach Breanna Sisson said. "But they found ways around our blocks. And their setter did a good job of mixing things up.''
Oakes took control of the first and third sets quickly. The Tornadoes built an 11-3 lead in the opener and were ahead 9-2 in the third.
The second set was the most competitive of the three.
A 5-0 run gave Oakes a 14-6 lead. But Trinity rallied to within 21-17 before the Tornadoes closed it out with four unanswered points.
In each of the three sets, the balanced Tornadoes had at least five hitters contributing to the kill totals.
"Sadie had confidence in making the right set,'' Oakes coach Shari Christenson said. "Our hitters, all of them, stepped up and played great.''
The Tornadoes' hitting kept the Trinity defense busy. The Titans had 59 digs, led by Bre Tessier with 17 and Farrah Zeller and Alexa Walby with 12 apiece.
Another key at the net was Oakes' blocking. The Tornadoes had only five points off blocks, led by Schmitz with two. But they consistently were slowing down the Titans hitters, getting hands on their shots.
Christenson called the blockers the matches' most valuable players.
"They shut down (Trinity's) high-powered game,'' Christenson said. "We knew we needed to block their middles. We were ready and really stepped up.''
Macy Kuntz had eight kills and Tessier six to pace the Titans.
"They read our hitters very well,'' Sisson said. "Oakes is quick and able to get their hands up. They put up big blocks. It's intimidating.
"They were aggressive, playing on all cylinders.''
Oakes 3, Dickinson Trinity 0
O 25 25 25 - 3
DT 11 17 12 - 0
Dickinson Trinity (kills-blocks-service aces)-Bre Tessier 6-0-0 (17 digs), Macy Kuntz 8-2-0, Farrah Zeller 3-0-0 (12 digs), Amaya Willer 4-1-0, Abbey Kubas 0-1-0, Alexa Walby 1-0-1 (20 assists, 12 digs).
Oakes-Claire Wagner 14 digs, Shayla Novak 2-0-0, Nicole Schmitz 11-2-6, Abigail Cox 2-0-0, Marisa Garza 3-1-0, Jaida Seyer 6-1-4, Sadie Hansen 4-1-1 (20 assists)