DSU rallies, but Western prevailsThe Dickinson State volleyball team grabbed a momentous third-set win against Montana Western.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson State volleyball team grabbed a momentous third-set win against Montana Western.
The Bulldogs, however, didn’t allow the momentum to travel any further.
Western ended the Frontier Conference match in four sets, defeating DSU 25-20, 25-17, 26-28, 25-20 on Saturday at Scott Gymnasium.
“We knew Dickinson was going to play well in their home gym,” Western head coach Lisa Griffiths said. “We really wanted to come in and establish our game. When we were able to do that, we were able to be successful.”
The Blue Hawks and Bulldogs met in Dillon, Mont., on Sept. 29 as the home team won in straight sets. In the three-set loss, DSU scored 12, 13 and 21 points.
DSU interim head coach Jennifer Hartman said she was impressed with her team’s performance Saturday.
“They definitely improved a lot from the last time that we played them,” she said. “We came out aggressive and confident. It was just a couple mistakes here and there.”
DSU’s senior middle hitter Shaundra Dvorak agreed with Hartman on the improvement from in just two weeks.
“We played better this time against them,” said Dvorak, who had 13 kills. “I’m proud of the girls. We fought hard.”
It was a back-and-forth battle throughout the third set and the Blue Hawks had Western on the ropes with a 24-22 lead. The Bulldogs then put together a 3-0 run to take a 25-24 lead.
The Blue Hawks (3-14, 0-7 Frontier) weren’t done either. After an Ebony Sanders’ block and Sarah Zeibig kill, DSU lead 26-25.
Sanders had 13 kills, while Zeibig added nine and five digs. Melissa Avila supplied 25 assists, seven digs and five kills.
But after the two-point swing, Western’s sophomore Breanna Kelley, who led her team with 17 kills, knocked a kill to tie up the set. Dvorak responded with a kill and a Western attack error seal the DSU win.
“I told them that they needed to come out with even more intensity,” Hartman said. “This team wasn’t just going to roll over and give it to us. They definitely did that and I’m proud with the effort they put forward tonight.”
In the fourth set, the Bulldogs (9-12, 4-5 Frontier) built up a 19-13 lead and held on for the four-set win. Griffiths knew her team couldn’t let DSU have the momentum back.
“We had a hard time slowing down their hitters a little bit,” she said. “They’re a dangerous team, when you give them a little room to breathe.”
Though the Blue Hawks lost the first and second sets, there were flickers of what was to come. DSU went down to the wire with Western in the first set and put together a solid run in the second set.
“We knew that we had to come out with high energy like we did the other night and keep fighting hard,” Dvorak said. “I think we did really well at that.”
The Bulldogs only have one senior on the floor and rely on underclassmen to handle most of the workload. Junior Bailey Branson had 11 kills and four digs, while freshman Brea Mitchell and junior Charelle Minor each added nine kills.
“We do rely on those younger players to carry a big load,” Griffiths said. “When they can rise to that occasion and just play volleyball, we’re in good shape.”
The Blue Hawks will try to fix their mistakes before hosting former Dakota Athletic Conference opponent Jamestown College in a nonconference match at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“We just have to move forward from this and take it as a lesson learned,” Hartman said. “We just need to clean up our mistakes and the girls have it from here on out.”
MW 25 25 26 25 — 3
DSU 20 17 28 20 — 1
Kills: MW, Breanne Kelley 17, Bailey Branson 11, Brea Mitchell 9, Charelle Minor 9, Emily Erickson 7, Paige Latimer 5. DSU, Ebony Sanders 13, Shaunda Dvorak 13, Sarah Zeibig 9, Melissa Avila 5, Priscilla Frias 3.
Blocks: MW, Kelley 1, Erickson 1. DSU, Sanders 2, Zeibig 1.
Aces: MW, Shelby Mack 1, Olivia Nagler 1, Kelley 1, Latimer 1. DSU, Alexxus Fisher 3, Avila 1.
Digs: MW, Mack 17, Latimer 14, Kelley 6, Branson 4, Erickson 4. DSU, Chelsea Seibel 9, Kelly O’Connor 8, Avila 7, Rebecca Johnson 5, Katelyn Christensen 5, Zeibig 5.
Assists: MW, Latimer 46, Erickson 4. DSU, Avila 25, O’Connor 14.
Records: MW 9-12, 4-5 Frontier. DSU 3-14, 0-7 Frontier.