Bismarck Legacy stages furious comeback to top West Fargo and advance to Class A volleyball semifinals
After falling into a 2-0 hole, the Sabers clawed all the way back to top the Packers in five sets on Thursday.
BISMARCK — Things were looking good for West Fargo High School early on Thursday in its Class A state quarterfinal match against Bismarck Legacy.
Volleyball, however, is a sport of runs and, and unfortunately for the East Region No. 2 seed Packers, the West No. 3 Sabers clawed back from two sets down to win 21-25, 18-25, 28-26, 25-19, 15-13 and advance to Friday's semifinals at the Bismarck Event Center.
Senior middle hitter Chelsa Krom — who recorded her 100th career block in the first set — also threw down the final block for Legacy to clinch match point in the fifth. The Sabers (24-11) will now face West No. 1 and two-time defending state champion Bismarck Century (33-2) in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Friday.
"We knew it was going to be a hard match," said Legacy head coach Jenn Astle. "West Fargo plays some really good defense and some of those rallies really extended out and got really long. I think it took us a little bit to set into our mindset where we wanted to have that play to win mentality rather than the play to lose mentality.
"So when I saw that we were going to extend it into the fourth set, I was like, 'Yep, we're ready. We're going to do this.' "
The Packers fell into a 12-4 deficit in the opening set before going on a 10-2 run to tie it up at 14. Up 23-21 later, West Fargo scored the final two points on an ace from senior setter Olivia Soine and a Legacy attack error.
West Fargo went on to win set two on a Sabers service error to put a stranglehold on the match. Unfortunately for the Packers, it wasn't meant to be the rest of the way.
"Definitely not the result we wanted for sure," said West Fargo head coach Kelsey Titus. "We had a lot of fight and a lot of battles. Legacy came out strong. They really battled and fought really hard for every point. So we expected a battle, it just didn't come out the way we wanted it to."
The Packers (25-11) dropped into the consolation bracket and will play East Region No. 4 Fargo North (25-11) in a consolation semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday.
Titus, who is in her first season coaching the Packers, said she couldn't have asked for a better group in year one.
"Their work ethic and their attitude," Titus said. "They've been a lot of fun to coach. They do everything I ask them to do. They work hard and usually compete really, really hard. So it's just been a really fun group to have and it's a really new group this year too with only a few kids that were here last year. So a lot of new kids out there playing a lot of minutes and getting that experience."
Two consecutive blocks clinched a thrilling third set for the Sabers before a kill from junior outside hitter Halle Severson won the fourth frame for Legacy.
Junior setter Reese Duchsherer and senior outside hitter Asiah Gross paced the Sabers with 14 kills apiece. Severson finished with 13 while Krom had 11. Senior setter Madison Colby finished with 37 assists while senior libero JoAnna Fleckenstein led in the digs department with 27. Krom finished with four blocks.
West Fargo senior right side hitter Riley Guscette finished with 15 kills while freshman middle hitter Ellee McIntosh added 13. Sophomore outside hitter Alivia Peterson chipped in 11. Freshman libero Raina Chwialkowski had four aces, three assists and 29 digs while senior outside hitter Alli Halvorson finished with 30 digs. Halvorson and junior defensive specialist Kiara Zepeda had three aces apiece.