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PREP VOLLEYBALL: Thompson qualifies for state by rallying over Hatton-Northwood

PARK RIVER, N.D. -- Emily Overby started the volleyball season trying to break into the Thompson rotation. Averi Olson was limited because she also was running cross country.

Thompson Tommies logo

PARK RIVER, N.D. -- Emily Overby started the volleyball season trying to break into the Thompson rotation. Averi Olson was limited because she also was running cross country.

On Thursday night, they were key players in helping Thompson extend its season into the North Dakota Class B state high school volleyball tournament. Thompson qualified for state by rallying to beat Hatton-Northwood 22-25, 25-18, 19-25, 25-18, 15-13 in the Region 2 championship.

The Tommies advance to state for the first time since 2008.

Hatton-Northwood jumped to a 5-2 lead in the fifth game. But Overby and Olson each had three kills in a match-closing 13-8 run.

"They came up big time, just huge," Tommies coach Lisa Strand said.

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"Emily played here and there at the start of the season and maybe a little less than half the time in the second half. But she's stepped up. And when Averi was done with cross country, she's been able to work more on her swing. She's really hitting well."

Thompson used a 15-5 run to take control of the fourth game and force the tiebreaker. In the fifth game, Bethan Ivesdal served a 6-0 run to put the Tommies ahead 11-7.

The Thunder came back to pull even at 13 on a Kelsey Pladson kill. But an Olson kill broke the tie and Thompson won its first region title since 2008 on a four-touch violation.

While Olson and Thompson were the big hitters down the stretch, five Tommies had points at the net in the closing run.

Thompson's balance "was definitely a factor," Thunder coach Cyndee Strand said. "They run a 6-2 offense, so they always have three hitters at the net. In our 5-1, we sometimes only have two blockers."

The left-handed hitting Pladson had a big match with 17 kills and five blocks, with Jordan Johnson, the region senior player of the year, adding 11 kills and Sam Janda eight.

Shaice Marx led the Tommies with 10 kills, with Bethany Ivesdal getting nine kills and a match-high four service aces and Overby getting seven kills. Thompson leading hitter Shannon Galegher had eight kills and six blocks in a decoy role.

"We told Shannon they they were keying on her," Lisa Strand said. "She was drawing double blocks. Our other kids knew they had to shoulder more responsibility. And they did."

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It was the third time the teams met this season, with each finishing with a 3-2 outcome.

Related Topics: PREP SPORTS
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