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Fosston tops CL-B in 8A quarterfinals

Fosston's Abby Laubenstein spikes against Cass Lake-Bena blockers Nicole Collins and Autumn Brunelle during Monday's 8A quarterfinals at the Bemidji High School gym. Fosston went on to win the match 3-1. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Despite upsetting Kelliher-Northome last week in the Section 8A volleyball tournament's second round Cass Lake-Bena was supposed to go away quietly Monday night when the fifth-rated Panthers met top-seeded Fosston.

CL-B, however, came out with enthusiasm and determination and dominated the first game on way to a 25-14 victory. Fosston eventually lived up to its top billing and went on to advance to Thursday's semifinals at UM-Crookston with a 14-25, 25-11, 25-14, 25-11 victory.

The Greyhounds will face No. 2 seed Lake of the Woods in the semifinals. The Bears stopped sixth-seeded Mahnomen in Monday's other quarterfinal matchup 25-22, 25-16, 25-15.

"Our girls came out and played their absolute best volleyball of the season in that first game," said CL-B coach Kelly Geiger. "We were flawless. We pulled Fosston out of its normal game and I don't think Fosston was expecting that."

Cass Lake-Bena bolted to a 5-0 lead and, after the Greyhounds rallied within 6-4, CL-B responded with a 6-1 run to forge a 12-5 advantage.

The Panthers cemented thefirst-game win when Stephanie Masten served five consecutive points, including a pair of aces, to up the lead to 18-8.

Joy Smith's spike and a Fosston miscue provided the final two points.

Midway through the second game Cass Lake-Bena continued to stymie Fosston. The teams were knotted at 7-7 and, after Autumn Brunelle scored on a tip, the Panthers trailed only 11-9.

But Fosston went on a rampage that enabled the Greyhounds to win the second game and establish dominance.

"Fosston's hitting is stronger than ours and Fosston is bigger than we are and they used that size and power to their advantage," Geiger said. "We couldn't find a way to counter their attack."

CL-B finished the year 9-23 while Fosston improved to 23-7.

"For a fifth-place seed to extend the top seed to four games, I think that says something about our girls," Geiger said. "We gave it our all. At no point this year did they quit and they certainly didn't quit Monday against Fosston."

Brunelle finished with nine kills while Smith had six kills.

Nicole Collins contributed four kills and three blocks and Masten ended with 14 digs.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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