Devils Lake advance to East Region semifinals, beats Valley City 25-22, 27-25, 25-23.

At one point in the first set, Devils Lake found itself in a seven point hole. Firebirds head coach Carla Freschette called a timeout and relayed this message to the girls.

“We have to play our game; to focus on what we’re going to do. And … to be sharks.”

Once the blood began leaking from Valley City, the Firebirds began feeding, turning the deficit into an opening set win that propelled Devils Lake to the match sweep of the Hi-Liners in the Class A East Region volleyball tournament quarterfinals Tuesday afternoon from the Sports Center.

The Firebirds, who lost to the Hi-Liners in five sets exactly a week ago Tuesday, advanced to Friday’s semifinals against top-seeded Fargo Davies. The Eagles defeated Fargo South 3-0 Tuesday night.

“I thought that we played really well and I thought everybody stepped up to the plate in their roles wherever they maybe on the floor,” Freschette said. 

The Hi-Liners (20-10) controlled the first set, jumping out to a 4-1 lead before the Firebirds scored twice to get within one. Josie Berntson’s kill started a 5-0 run by the Hi-Liners and launched them to the 17-10 advantage and leading to Freschette’s timeout.

Kyleigh Toso’s kill out of the timeout began a 7-0 run for the Firebirds who took their first lead of the set at 19-18 and a Taylor Windjue kill put Devils Lake up two. Macy Olstad’s kill brought the Hi-Liners to within one at 22-21 but the Firebirds closed out the set with the 25-22 win.

“I told them that we kind of need to find our rhythm, get one point back and work our way up from there,” said Valley City head coach Mattie Cruff.

Cruff’s message was of importance for the Hi-Liners in the second set as it was the Firebirds who took control, jumping out to a 14-6 advantage. But Valley City made its run, taking over the lead at 19-18. The Hi-Liners would maintain the lead until a Mattea Vetsch kill tied the score at 23-all and Maya Barendt gave the Firebirds the lead back at 24-23.

The Hi-Liners regain the advantage at 25-24 but consecutive kills by Vetsch and Averi Ziegler gave Devils Lake the lead which it used to win the second set 27-25.

The Firebirds took the lead in the third set at 2-1 and led throughout until Valley City took the lead at 23-22. The Firebirds scored three straight to win the set 25-23 and the match.

Vetsch had 12 kills, 11 digs and two assists, Ziegler and Barendt each had seven kills with Ziegler adding four digs and Barendt had two digs and  Chiara Olson had eight kills and 14 digs to pace the Firebirds.

Olstad led Valley City with 11 kills, Cali Halgrimson had nine kills and two aces and Berntson finished with four kills and 12 assists for the Hi-Liners.