Trinity earns dramatic five-set win over Cougars in semifinalsAfter an opening round lacking postseason drama, the Region 7 volleyball tournament got a big boost of theatrics Tuesday night.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
After an opening round lacking postseason drama, the Region 7 volleyball tournament got a big boost of theatrics Tuesday night.
Dickinson Trinity battled back from a deficit in its semifinal match against Heart River and hung on for a 19-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-18, 15-13 victory at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. The Titans will meet Beulah at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the title match.
“I’m about to have a heart attack right now,” Trinity head coach Rayma Braaten said with a smile just minutes after the match.
The Titans (22-17) scored eight unanswered points in the fourth set to take a lead and turn the momentum fully in their favor. Then, with one point standing between them and the championship match, the Titans withstood a last-ditch effort by the District 13 champion Cougars (30-6).
“You never knew what was going to happen,” Heart River head coach Craig Pool said. “It seemed like the team that started out front in the beginning of the game was going to be the one that was going to end up in the losing end of it.”
On the brink of elimination, Trinity turned to its hitters to swing the match in its favor.
Senior Nikki Grinsteinner and junior Aly Schieno paced an eight-point run that gave Trinity a 20-13 lead in the fourth set and led it into the deciding fifth set riding a wave of momentum.
Schieno had a team-high 20 kills while Grinsteinner added 13 kills, and team highs of 16 digs, six aces and four blocks.
“We definitely realized we need to come through and play as a team,” Grinsteinner said of Trinity’s fourth-set outburst. “It was a big booster for us, and then we got our confidence from that.”
Trinity built a 12-6 lead in the fifth set and were up 14-9 before the Cougars began clawing back.
Three straight Titan miscues and a push kill by Heart River senior Quinn Steffan made it 14-13.
Senior Mariah Quintus cut the comeback short and sent Trinity to the title game with a kill from the left side.
“It was so intense, from the beginning all the way to the end,” Schieno said. “Yes, we got a big lead, but no matter what it was still the most intense game.”
Paced by senior Miranda Kadrmas’ match-high 26 kills, the Cougars took the first and third sets after establishing good leads.
Trinity fed off Grinsteinner in the second set, climbing out of a 14-11 deficit and outscoring the Cougars 14-3 down the stretch to the match.
“It was a good game,” said Kadrmas, who also led the Cougars with 14 digs and six blocks. “It’s not like it was just three and it was over. It was a battle to the end. That’s what we want, to know that we gave it our all and it was close.”
After starting the season slow, the Titans have been coming on strong. They lost to Beulah in the District 14 championship match.
Braaten, a first-year coach, said the Titans’ progress has been extraordinary since her first day on the job.
“Their improvement has been amazing. I’m so proud of them,” Braaten said. “It’s like they have been improving mentally, which is kind of what we do need to work on. The talent is there. We had our times, but for the most part they have come through when we need them.”
Trinity 19 25 20 25 15 — 3
HR 25 17 25 18 13 — 2
Kills: T, Aly Schieno 20, Nikki Grinsteinner 13, Andrea Jirges 7. HR, Miranda Kadrmas 26, Quinn Steffan 16, Brittney Tift 6.
Blocks: T, Grinsteinner 4, Jirges 1, Schieno 1, Sammy Gordon 1. HR, Kadrmas 6, Steffan 5, Nettie Splichal 3.
Aces: T, Grinsteinner 6, Mariah Quintus 2, Gordon 2, Kelsey Deichert 2, Schieno 1. HR, Karli Northrup 3, Steffan 3, Kadrmas 2.
Digs: T, Grinsteinner 18, Quintus 11, Schieno 8, Brandi Ouellette 7. HR, Kadrmas 14, Splichal 12, Shanea Haugtvedt 12.
Assists: T, Gordon 43. HR, Splichal 20, Jada Mattson 11, Kaitlyn Rahr 8.
Records: T 22-17, HR 30-6.