Northern Cass Jaguars down Kenmare to advance to Class B volleyball state finals
The Jaguars will face the Linton-HMB Lions Saturday evening in a rematch of last year’s state final game, won by the Lions.
BISMARCK — A rematch of last year’s Class B state final is set as the Northern Cass Jaguars defeated the Kenmare Honkers on Friday in the semifinals.
With the 25-16, 25-19, 26-28, 25-16 win, the Jaguars advanced to their second state final in a row where they will face the team they lost to last year, the Linton-HMB Lions.
Northern Cass junior middle hitter Josie Jensen put up three blocks in a row to close out the final set. Executing the blocks all came down to getting the right read on the setters, Jensen said.
“You just have to watch where the setter is going,” Jensen said. “As soon as you can read her hands, you take off, get up and put your hands over the net.”
Jensen put up double digits in three statistical categories with 15 blocks, 11 kills and 17 digs. She also had three aces.
While she was excited about how she played, Jensen said that it wouldn’t be possible without her teammates.
“I could not have done any of it without my teammates,” she said. “Eleise Sand’s out there telling me what is ready to be hit. Noelle (Erickson) is setting, Addy (Rust) is setting and Cady (Evenson) is getting digs everywhere. Everybody is contributing.”
Rust (21) and Erickson (17) had 38 of the Jaguars’ 43 assists while Halle Crocket led the team in kills with 12. Erickson also led the team in digs with 19.
After two set wins to start off the match, the Jaguars found themselves behind in set three after the Honkers kept what looked to be a for-sure kill alive off the leg of one of their players. That play gave Kenmare a jolt of energy on their way to the set win.
Northern Cass coach Angie Johnson said that energy — especially in the fourth set — was a strong point for the Jaguars.
“We had a little slump in the third set,” Johnson said. “They got a lot of momentum off the play off their foot and they were able to finish. I think we were just kind of gassed a little bit in the third and just weren’t able to put the ball away. I think turning around in the fourth and getting that focus back and really finishing that game was the key for us.”
Johnson added that after the third set, the team moved on quickly to turn their attention to putting the match away in the next one.
“(I told them) it doesn’t matter. The third set is done,” she said. “They can have that one. We just had to refocus and do what we need to do on our side of the court. We were trying to do too much, I think, and focusing on everything they were doing over there versus playing Jaguar volleyball and just staying true to what we know how to do.”
The Northern Cass win sent the Honkers to the consolation bracket, breaking Kenmare’s 19-match winning streak.
Kate Zimmer led the Honkers in assists with 34 and digs with 14. Lexi Holter and Brea Chrest each had 10 digs as well.
Brenn Stroklund had a team-high 17 kills for Kenmare in the match while Presley Zeltinger had five aces.
Northern Cass and Linton-HMB face off in the Class B state final Saturday at 6 p.m. in Bismarck.
Linton-HMB looks for their third straight state title while the Jaguars hope to win their first since 2013.
“We are so excited,” said Jensen. “We were here last year so we are ready to go!”