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PREP VOLLEYBALL: Stanley sweeps Thompson in B quarterfinals

MINOT -- Officially, Chai Pappa is listed as 5-feet-9 inches in height in the program. That's not quite accurate, though. "She says 5-9," Stanley High School volleyball coach Jessica Niemitalo said. "I don't know why. She's actually 5-10." The se...

McKenna DeMoe hits a return against Stanley in the first round of the state volleyball tournament
McKenna DeMoe hits a return against Stanley in the first round of the state volleyball tournament Thursday in Minot. The Tommies fell 3-0 to the Blue Jays. (Kevin Cederstrom for Forum Communications)

MINOT -- Officially, Chai Pappa is listed as 5-feet-9 inches in height in the program. That's not quite accurate, though.

"She says 5-9," Stanley High School volleyball coach Jessica Niemitalo said. "I don't know why. She's actually 5-10."

The senior played a lot bigger than that Thursday as Stanley swept No. 2 seed Thompson in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B volleyball tournament. The unseeded Blue Jays won 25-10, 26-24, 25-11.

Pappa accounted for almost one-third of the Blue Jay points by herself. The hard-hitting right-hander had 19 kills, four blocks and one service ace.

"Chai is so aggressive," Niemitalo said. "She's got a great vertical. She always plays huge. That was probably a typical match for her."

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Pappa said the excitement of the tournament had her adrenaline going. "It's state. Everybody has to rise up," she said. "You have to go above your normal level.

"We try not to think about who's on the other side of the net. We try to play our own game. We thrive off our own energy."

Thompson gave the Blue Jays a boost to start the match. Stanley's first nine points were on Thompson errors as the Blue Jays jumped to a 10-2 lead and led by seven or more the rest of the way.

In the second set, however, Thompson led by as much as 17-10 when the Blue Jays rallied. Thompson was at set point with a 24-20 lead, only to see Stanley go on a 6-0 run for the win. Pappa had four kills -- one tip and three blasts -- in the closing run.

"She's outstanding; we knew she was, that she had that ability to put the ball down," Thompson coach Lisa Strand said of Pappa. "We usually are able to put up big blocks. But she has powerful swings. She's probably the most consistently strong and smart girl we've played against this year."

And, Strand said, Thompson didn't help itself. There were the errors to start the opening set. And Thompson gave the Blue Jays two points on mistakes in the 6-0 run to close the second set.

"We needed one point, one play, at that point," Strand said. "Mistakes were big for us."

Stanley took charge of the third set quickly, scoring the first 10 points.

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"Chai played her game," Niemitalo said. "The girls around her were big. They all were scrappy, aggressive. Angela (Nielsen, six kills, three blocks) and Savanah (Meyer, eight kills, two blocks) played well."

Shannon Galegher had 11 kills and one block and Shaice Marx had seven kills to pace Thompson.

DeVillers reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1128, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1128 or send e-mail to gdevillers@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: PREP SPORTSTHOMPSON
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