Corey's Corner 11/18

Posted 11/18/15 (Wed)

                Well, it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve been all over the state covering volleyball this season, and we enjoyed every second of it.  We were lucky enough to cover some of the best players and teams in the state, including some players that will be taking their skills to the next level. But the season has come to an end for us here at BEK, and so in this Corey’s Corner we’ll take a look back at our last few games of the season, and then wrap up with some parting thoughts.

                First up: the 3rd place game in Class B Region 3. The Medina-Pingree-Buchanan Thunder and the Carrington Cardinals both didn’t play the games they would’ve liked to the day before, and so found themselves in the early game on Championship Thursday. MPB was coming off a tough loss to the LaMoure Loboes, while Carrington had an off night while South Border was locked in from the opening serve. In the first two sets of this game though, it was the Carrington Cardinals who had it all figured out.        

                Usually, when you see a player has 500 of any stat in sports, you’re gonna assume that player is a big part of what a team does. But for two games, Maara Nelson (527 kills entering play) simply couldn’t find her rhythm for the Cardinals in Napoleon. Third time was the charm for the junior though, as she was a big reason that Carrington won the first two sets 25-18 and 25-12. Nelson racked up double digit kills on the game, and paced the Carrington offense. Meanwhile, Carmen Pederson, Kauri Hochalter and Taylor Kutz had been good all tournament and that held true again. They tallied over 40 kills between them, and the Cardinals seemed like they were going to take this one easily.

Enter Jordan Thomas. The senior for the MPB Thunder is quite possibly the best player we’ve seen on the BEK Broadcasting Network this year. Her offensive game is well balanced, her back row play is more than solid, and she flat out destroys volleyballs. She didn’t have less than 25 kills in any game we covered her in. And this game would determine one last note in the story of the 2015 Thunder. 3rd place was on the line, and Jordan Thomas gave the fans one last performance to remember. Nearly 30 kills on the game, Thomas was more than the go-to option. The play call was right out of a movie: “get the ball to Jordan, and let her hit it.” Megan Moser and Halle Uehran helped move the Thunder offense, and Joey Kleinsasser was once again good in the setting game. But Thomas was the reason the Thunder won back to back sets 25-21 and 26-24 to force a decisive set 5.

                But the Cardinals would not give up three straight. It was tight the whole way in the final set of the season for both teams, but credit the Cardinals for digging in their heels and rallying back. They took the final set 15-11 and locked up third place in Region 3. Both teams had very strong seasons, but sadly only one team can make it to the state tournament. And for the result of that game, you have to head over to Brian’s Monday Morning Rewind.  (Side note: Jordan Thomas is one of those players who will be showcasing her skills at the next level. She’s still thinking over multiple college offers.)

                And so the Class “B” season wrapped up for us, but there was still more volleyball to  be had. The State field for class “A” had yet to be decided, and so we went over to Century High School as four teams would earn the right to keep their season going and play for a State Title out of the WDA. The first game we covered was also the first chance for the Bismarck Legacy Sabers to make the state tournament. The newly constructed Legacy High School would have to top the Jamestown Blue Jays to continue playing volleyball this season.

                The Sabers have done a remarkable job in their first year. Not only have they put the right talent on the floor, but he coaching staff lead by Jennifer Astle has put her players in the best position to succeed. In a game so dependent on chemistry and floor experience, the Sabers success this season is remarkable. And they were able to dominate the middle part of each set versus the Blue Jays. Whitney Thomas paced the Legacy attack, putting up over 15 kills on the game. They also were very effective on the block, lead in that category by Madi Schatz and Brita Feland. But Jamestown would rally back at the end of each set as Mackenize Clark, Mckayla Kurtz, Taylor Schmeichel , and Courtney Peterson all had strong contributions for the Blue Jays. However, it just wasn’t enough to claw out of the hole caused by the Legacy run, and it was a 3-0 for the Sabers. Jennifer Astle would go on to be one of the nominees for WDA Coach of the Year for guiding Legacy to a state berth in its first year on the volleyball court.

                And so it came down to our final volleyball game of the year. The home team and top-seeded Bismarck Century Patriots played host to the Bismarck Demons. Century had just won a state title in football courtesy of QB Dalton Feeney and WR Adam Geiger (who made SportsCenter with his circus catch in the Dakota Bowl) so the atmosphere was even more electric as the Century Volleyball team looked to get top seeding in their quest for a State Championship. Both of these teams are headed to states regardless of the outcome, but that top seed has some serious value. The Patriots knew this, and showed it.

                Senior outside hitter Katie Scherr will be taking her volleyball talents to the state of Colorado, and it’s very easy to see why schools would make the trip to North Dakota to watch her play. 11 kills, a handful of blocks, and four aces from the WDA Senior Athlete of the Year lead the way for an incredibly talented Patriots team. And that talent showed up big time. Regan Dennis had over 10 kills, Cameron Clark had a few kills and 3 blocks. Britta Knudson made plays off the bench. Coaches Bohrer and Zastoupil knew they had a talented team at the beginning of this season, and the crowd at Century was reminded of that fact once again. We often talk about playing 1-6, having 6 players who can be versatile wherever they are on the floor. Century has that, and more weapons to bring off the bench. The Patriots lost once all season, and are going to be an incredibly tough out in the state tournament. For my money, they are the best volleyball team in the state of North Dakota.

                Have to mention the effort put forth by the Bismarck Demons. They ran into a freight train in Century, but they were not intimated and gave it everything they had. Jaycee Walter and Cara Haussler made timely plays that slowed Century runs, and Shelby Arman was able to hold serve for the Demons for chunks at a time. Sophmore Lexus Mosbrucker had an up-and-down game, but certainly made some plays for coach Nichols and Bismarck. They too will pose some very real challenges when they take the floor during the state tourney.

                That’s it. The Fall season is over. From fire drill field goals to emphatic spikes to end games, it has been a ton of fun. We have worked with so many great players and coaches, and they couldn’t have been a nicer group of people too. The fans were awesome as well, from making noise to their team to being incredibly courteous towards us and our crew. And the train keeps on rolling here at the BEK Broadcasting Network. We go from deep shots down the football field to last second buzzer beaters on the basketball court. Boys and girls basketball is right around the corner, and in the words of Jets linebacker Bart Scott: “can’t wait!”