Pair of DSU volleyball seniors keep eyes on goalsThrough two difficult seasons at Dickinson State, Ebony Sanders and Sarah Zeibig were forced to examine the reasons why they played the game of volleyball.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Through two difficult seasons at Dickinson State, Ebony Sanders and Sarah Zeibig were forced to examine the reasons why they played the game of volleyball.
The seniors have been a part of just three victories in two seasons, but that hasn’t done much to stifle their enthusiasm for the game or their team.
“I just try and love the game for what it is,” Sanders said. “We’re just trying to take everything and find a positive in everything we do.”
Sanders and Zeibig, who each arrived at DSU in the fall of 2011, said neither expected to be in the kind of leadership roles they’ve found themselves in.
The Blue Hawks’ season — as well as the careers of Sanders, Zeibig and their senior teammate Shaunda Dvorak — are on the line at 5 p.m. Thursday when they face Montana Western in the Frontier Conference Tournament play-in match on Montana Tech’s Kelvin Sampson Court in Butte, Mont.
DSU (3-23, 0-14 Frontier) is the No. 9 seed and Western (10-18, 5-11 Frontier) is the No. 8 seed.
Regardless of whether or not the game is the last for DSU’s seniors, Zeibig said she and her teammates have accomplished what they set out to.
“It’s obviously had it’s ups and downs. But I think that all three of us, as seniors, we wanted to make sure we never let go of what our ultimate goal was — and that was to become great volleyball players and great people in general,” Zeibig said.
The Blue Hawks rely heavily on Sanders and Zeibig, whose statistics are eerily similar.
Sanders, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter from Fresno, Calif., has 156 kills and 33 blocks. Zeibig, a 5-11 outside hitter from Phoenix, has 151 kills and 34 blocks.
This season, Sanders and Zeibig have been used primarily at the net and rotate off the floor instead of going to the back row, which they said has helped each of them this season.
“Every time I get into the court, I know I’m only in for three rotations so I have to put it all out there and I go for the kill every single time I get a set,” Zeibig said.
Jennifer Hartman, DSU’s interim head coach who played with both Sanders and Zeibig last season, said the duo has both been more assertive as seniors and it has shown an improvement in their play from the beginning of the season.
“To see them continue to get better, no matter how they looked at this situation, this season has been remarkable and their confidence in everything and their skill level with that has just exceeded any expectations I ever had for them,” said Hartman, who replaced former head coach Maura Bronte when she resigned on Sept. 18.
Hartman said Sanders leads more by example while Zeibig is a spirited, vocal leader. Zeibig laughs and said she’s like that with most things.
“I get excited about everything and I try and put every single ounce of emotion and passion into volleyball as I do with the rest of my life,” Zeibig said.
As their careers wind down, one way or another, Sanders and Zeibig both said they’ve learned a great deal from their time at DSU and that they’re happy to say their careers weren’t only dictated by wins or losses.
“It would be nice if we had a few more wins, but the friends I’m going to take from this and the things that I’ve learned, no other team has been through this and I can say, ‘Hey, we got through it,’” Sanders said.