MINOT-Carrie Nistler was at the Fargodome on Nov. 9 when Thompson won the 9-man football state championship. It was a thrill.
"It was crazy, so intense,'' Nistler, a senior volleyball player at Thompson High School, said.
"But this is a better feeling for us. It is our team's accomplishment. I know how hard we worked for this.''
Thompson got the volleyball state championship to go with its football title. The Tommies rallied here Saturday night to beat Oakes 25-20, 23-25, 13-25, 25-16, 15-13 in the championship of the North Dakota Class B state volleyball tournament.
Thompson's fifth state volleyball title, and first since 2005, was clinched on an Izzy Shirek kill. But the win, the senior said, "wasn't just that one kill. So many things, so many others, made the game.''
Down 2-1 in sets, Thompson rallied with a back-to-basics approach. The Tommies had three runs of four or more points in the fourth set, the last a 6-0 spurt for a 21-11 lead. They finished the set for the 2-2 tie on a Mackenzie Hughes kill.
"We needed to get back to basics,'' Thompson coach Lisa Strand said, "to get back to doing what we're good at. That's playing aggressively. We were holding back. We needed to start swinging.
"These girls have come back before. They can make things happen.''
There was one last comeback.
Oakes went up 9-5 in the fifth set on a Marisa Garza block. Thompson rallied to a 12-10 lead. The teams were tied at 10, 12 and 13 before Macy Jordheim's kill gave the Tommies a 14-13 lead. Shirek finished with the match point on her kill.
"Honestly? There was no worry when we were behind,'' said Nistler, who had three kills in the late rally. "We felt we could do it. Somehow, we always find ways to pull it out.''
Thompson took the initial lead, winning a close first set. Neither team had a run of more than four points or a lead of more than four until Taylor Zak served six straight points for a 23-17 advantage. Thompson closed out the set with kills from Nistler and on set point from Jordheim.
Thompson played catch up almost the entire second set after Jaida Seyer served a 6-0 run for a 6-1 lead. The Tommies finally pulled even at 22-22 on an Allie Ness kill. But Oakes closed on a 3-1 spurt to event the sets at 1-1.
The third set was one of runs-all by the Tornadoes. They took a quick 5-1 lead with five unanswered points. That was the first of four runs of four or more unanswered points. The last was five straight points to close the set, three of those by Nicole Schmitz on two kills and a block for set point.
Jordheim finished with a match-high 22 kills, with Nistler getting nine and Shirek, Ness and Zak getting eight each. Hughes dished out 38 assists.
Oakes had a one-two punch in Schmitz and Garza with 19 and 16 kills, respectively.
Zak was named the Class B senior player of the year, while Strand won Class B coach of the year honors.