Bruins sweep past Firebirds

Ray Maloney, Sports
Devils Lake’s Rachel Frelich (23), Taylor Wade (2), Mackenzie Wade (3)?and Stephanie Mertens (6) watch as the ball comes over the net during Tuesday’s match against Fargo South at the Devils Lake Sports Center. The Bruins swept past the Firebirds in straight sets. Devils Lake returns to action on Thursday when the Firebirds play Valley City at the Sports Center.

If there is a silver lining to be found in the early going of the high school volleyball season in North Dakota, Devils Lake may just have found it.

Yes, the Firebirds split their six matches at the BHS-CHS?Invitational to start the season. Yes, they dropped their Eastern Dakota Conference opener to Fargo South.

But, the season can’t go anywhere but up for the Firebirds.

The BHS-CHS tournament, which annually pits EDC teams against their western North Dakota counterparts, has long been a challenging tournament. And South, well, South is South.

“We were on the defensive most of the night,” said Devils Lake coach Julie Faul after the Bruins swept past the Firebirds 25-14, 25-16 and 25-17 on Tuesday at the Devils Lake Sports Center.

“South is tough, they’ve always been tough ... we knew that going in,” added Faul as her team dropped to 3-4 on the season.

Faul was correct in her assessment. The Bruins were tough.

Fargo South never trailed throughout the three-set match and never allowed Devils Lake to sustain any sort of offensive run.

Devils Lake did managed to tie the Bruins three times in the first set, but were never able to get the lead against the talented Fargo South team.

“We have a really talented group of girls,” said Sarah Lacher, who is in her first season as head coach at South. “The key was playing together as a team and playing our brand of volleyball.”

The Bruins held the lead throughout the final two sets.

South, which won six matches at last week’s tournament in the Capital City, improved to 7-0 on the year with the win over the Firebirds.

“I told them in the lockerroom that I saw this as a breakthrough,” Faul said. “We didn’t give up and that signals a bigger breakthrough than it does a loss.”

Devils Lake returns to the Sports Center Thursday when the Firebirds take on Valley City, which is making its return to Class A after spending the past few season at the Class B level.

South will put its perfect record on the line when the Bruins play host to rival Fargo North before traveling to Grand Forks to take on defending state champion Red River.

Fargo South    25     25     25

Devils Lake     14     16     17

Fargo South: Kills – Meghan Roehrich 6, Bridget Kruger 6, Raquel Wellentin 5. Blocks – Wellentin 4, Roehrich 1, Michelle Westby 1. Assists – Haley Boisjolie 18, Addy Duval 8. Aces – Wellentin 8, Westby 4, Kruger 2. Digs – Alley Fisher 11, Westby 5.

Devils Lake: Kills – Mackenzie Wade 6, Taylor Wade 5, Stephanie Mertens 5, Haley Prozinski 2, Chelsea Kurtz 2. Blocks – T. Wade 3, Mertens 2, Prozinski 2. Assists – Autumn Wang 11, Josie Knowski 7. Aces – Knowski 2, M. Wade 1. Digs – M. Wade 10, Mertens 8, Krissy Larson 3.

Record: Fargo South 1-0 Eastern Dakota Conference, 7-0 overall; Devils Lake 0-1 EDC, 3-4 overall.