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Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State senior outside hitter Melissa Avila, right, tries for a kill against South Dakota School of Mines defender on Tuesday at Scott Gymnasium.

Mines creates tough time for DSU

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Senior night was one to forget for the three Dickinson State volleyball women being honored Tuesday, setter Kelly O’Connor, outside hitter Melissa Avila and outside hitter Linaya Schroeder.

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After winning the first set 25-20 against South Dakota School of Mines, the Blue Hawks were nowhere to be found for the last three, losing 25-17, 25-19, 25-10 at Scott Gymnasium. DSU head coach Jon Stenman was stunned by his team’s performance with two games left in the regular season.

“As a coach you never want to say your team quits, but I can’t not say they quit tonight,” Stenman said. “The effort was unacceptable especially on senior night. They showed absolutely no respect to the seniors. But even the seniors didn’t play that well the whole night.”

In the first set DSU came out strong and although the team only got nine kills, Mines made it easy for them. The Hardrockers missed 11 serves and committed nine hitting errors. All DSU had to do was keep the ball in play.

But Mines adjusted in the second set by not swinging hard and just pushed the ball off the block or rolled over top of DSU. By sets three and four, the Blue Hawks completely gave up and statistically got worse and worse.

“I can’t even tell you what happened to be honest,” O’Connor said.

Avila added: “People lost their heads and lost it quick, and that’s the worst way to go. When you feel like you’re going down, I was always taught to invest in someone else. Play for someone else. That was one of the biggest things, we just lost our brains and just couldn’t find the path back out.”

Mines recorded double-digit kills in each set and finished with 56 overall, while DSU only had double-digits (13) in the second set and 32 overall. Both teams had virtually the same amount of hitting errors, but Mines’ almost doubling DSU’s kills allowed them to run away with the match.

Three different players hit double-digit kills for the Hardrockers, sophomore middle hitter Samantha Johnson (16) senior outside hitter Janelle Strampe (14) and freshman outside hitter Kirsten Johnson (10).

“(DSU is) one of the best defensive teams we play all season, so just being able to overpower them with our middles was good and being really aggressive on serve and serve receive,” Mines head coach Tiffany Mastin-McCampbell said.

Stenman said the only two players to play consistently and play their hearts out were O’Connor, who had five kills, 22 assists and 23 digs, and junior libero Tasha Malana, who finished with 18 digs and ran around the court all night.

“I just didn’t like our effort. As the match went on our effort got worse and worse and it was fundamentals,” Stenman said. “We checked out so much we couldn’t do the fundamentals. We didn’t even play our base defense in the fourth set. They were just milling around and running in circles and that’s just so disappointing for me, especially on senior night.”

DSU’s final two games are on the road, starting with Montana State-Northern Thursday and finishing at Carroll College Saturday. After the lack of effort from the team Tuesday, Stenman said enough is enough. In practice today, he said he will compare the game film and performances in practice and whoever’s effort doesn’t improve will not travel with the team to Havre, Mont.

Stenman and his team are not sure what went wrong tonight, but he hopes the poor performance will not carry over onto the road. Northern, coming off its first Frontier Conference loss to Westminster College, will be angry and ready to take it out on DSU.

“To me, this is a bad omen for the rest of the week and I hope I’m wrong,” Stenman said. “In the fourth set, that was our worst effort of the year.”

SDSM 20 25 25 25 — 3

DSU 25 17 19 10 — 1

Kills: SDSM, Samantha Johnson 16, Janelle Strampe 14, Kirsten Johnson 10, Justine Blade 6, Kailey Anderson 5, Carsyn Garcia 3, Mikkella Reese 2. DSU, Melissa Avila 10, Aly Schieno 8, Kelly O’Connor 5, Linaya Schroeder 4, Maggie Rauser 3, Kate Golding 2.

Blocks: SDSM, Garcia 2, S. Johnson 1. DSU, Schroeder 1, O’Connor 1, Golding 1.

Aces: SDSM, Reese 3, K. Johnson 1. DSU, Avila 1, Rauser 1, O’Connor 1.

Digs: SDSM, Reese 17, Strampe 13, Anderson 13, Karli Sanders 13, Garcia 6, Blade 6, K. Johnson 4, Hannah Redman 2. DSU, O’Connor 23, Tasha Malana 18, Meghan Meyer 11, Justine Braunagel 10, Avila 9, Schieno 5, Rauser 3, Schroeder 1.

Assists: SDSM, Garcia 46, Blade 1, K. Johnson 1, S. Johnson 1. DSU, O’Connor 22, Rauser 1, Malana 1.

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Meaghan MacDonald
Meaghan is the sports reporter for the Dickinson Press, focusing primarily on Dickinson State athletics and rodeo. After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism. 
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