Comets fly past DSU: Mayville State handles, sweeps Blue Hawks in nonconference match
Once the seed of doubt is planted in the mind of the Dickinson State volleyball team, panic sets in and an entirely different team is on the floor.
Midway through the first set, Mayville State planted the seed of doubt in the Blue Hawks’ mind.
The Comets used the edge to sweep DSU 25-18, 25-15, 25-22 on Tuesday at Scott Gymnasium.
“The girls came out pretty well, Mayville made some pretty good defensive plays and I think our girls got frustrated,” DSU head coach Jon Stenman said. “The more balls that got dug, the more our girls got frustrated and then they started giving easy balls.
“Once Mayville made a few plays, doubt crept back in. And doubt is our worst enemy. As soon as we doubt ourselves, our heads start spinning and we don’t trust our actions.”
In the team’s first meeting this season, the Blue Hawks handled the Comets in four sets. The second time around Mayville keyed on Melissa Avila. Though the Comets didn’t completely shut Avila down, who had 17 kills, they did a better job than when the DSU senior outside hitter knocked down 29 kills on Oct. 1.
“(Avila) was definitely in our game plan,” Mayville head coach Lindsey Johnson said. “We have been working on that with a couple teams that have a couple big go-to hitters. We want to make sure we know where she’s at all points in time.”
The Comets had their own version of a big-time hitter — 6-foot-1 junior Josette Glatt, who finished with a team-high 17 kills.
Katie Wangberg — the Comets’ junior setter — said being able to set to Glatt is great. Wangberg is in her first season with Mayville after transferring from North Dakota State College of Science.
“She amazing and she’s been like that all year,” said Wangberg, who ended the game with 26 assists, 13 digs and three kills. “I use her a lot and I just keep going back to her. This was a perfect example of no one can block her, no one can stop her and no one can dig her balls. I’m lucky to play with someone like that — along with the rest of my team — and good passes always help too.”
In the opening set, each team matched point for point until Mayville took a brief 7-4 edge midway through the set and the seed of doubt was planted. The five-point, 20-15, advantage was all the Comets needed as Glatt ripped a kill to get the team to set-point. The Blue Hawks committed a net violation allowing the Comets to take the first set.
DSU setter Kelly O’Connor said the team discontinued doing the little things right. The senior posted 24 assists, nine digs and five kills.
“We came out well,” O’Connor said. “We made the mental plays that we needed to make and then we got to a point where it was really chaotic. We just couldn’t figure out how to calm down and keep things simple, which is very important for us.”
The battle continued in the second set. Then, Mayville’s defensive specialist Betsy Smith set to the serve line. The senior led the Comets to nine straight points and the team never looked back. Smith ended the game with a game-high three aces and forced DSU to burn both of its timeouts during the run.
“She is a good server and that was awesome, because she didn’t miss any serves,” Wangberg said. “She made them at crucial points and that kind of got our fire going when she got back there.”
Though the Comets took the first two sets, Johnson knew the team couldn’t get complacent. She knew DSU was going to put up a fight.
The Blue Hawks were able to put up a fight, but Mayville managed to come away with the sweep. The matched ended on a DSU hitting error. The Blue Hawks committed 22 hitting errors compared to Mayville’s five.
“We talk all the time about coasting,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to coast. We want to elevate. We started to coast a little bit and we were hoping they would make mistakes. We just had to step it up a little bit.”
In the third set, Alyson Schieno — a freshman and Dickinson Trinity graduate — had five kills. Natasha Malana supplied a game-high 23 digs, while Justine Braunagel, a Dickinson High graduate, had nine.
“Defensively, we played way too well to get beat like that,” Stenman said. “We just didn’t give ourselves a good enough chance offensively. Aly came in and did a nice job giving us a change of pace.”
The Blue Hawks return to Scott Gymnasium to play Valley City State — a team DSU has also beat earlier this season — at 7 p.m. Thursday. Stenman said the team has the capability of moving onto the next level, but it just has to do it.
“They are better than that,” Stenman said. “They are a better team, but they just won’t let themselves go to that other level. They’re afraid to get out of their comfort zone.”
MSU 25 25 25 — 3
DSU 18 15 22 — 0
Kills: MSU, Josette Glatt 17, Cassie Ziemer 5, Kaitlyn Timian 4, Kyla Bugner 3, Katie Wangberg 3. DSU, Melissa Avila 17, Kelly O’Connor 5, Alyson Schieno 5, Linaya Schroeder 5, Magdalyn Rauser 3.
Blocks: MSU, Bugner 5, Ziemer 2. DSU, Kate Golding 2.
Aces: MSU, Betsy Smith 3. DSU, Avila 2.
Digs: MSU, Paige O’Connor 19, Wangberg 13, Smith 10. DSU, Natasha Malana 23, Avila 10, O’Connor 9, Justine Braunagel 9.
Assists: MSU, Wangberg 26. DSU, O’Connor 24, Morgan Lutz 7.