Nieuwsma, Lions sweep Dickinson Trinity in Class B state tournament quarterfinalsMINOT — Linton-HMB’s sophomore outside hitter Nicole Nieuwsma might have been shocked when she was named to her all-district team.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
MINOT — Linton-HMB’s sophomore outside hitter Nicole Nieuwsma might have been shocked when she was named to her all-district team.
But the shock and awe finally wore off at the time it mattered the most.
Nieuwsma recorded 14 kills to lead the Region 3 champion Lions past Region 7 champion Dickinson Trinity 25-16, 25-13, 25-14 during the Class B state tournament quarterfinals on Thursday at the Minot State Dome.
“I think mentally we weren’t prepared for it,” Dickinson Trinity head coach Rayma Braaten said. “At the beginning, we were playing without thinking about it. When it set up in their heads, then they started to get freaked out. I could tell their nerves were pretty high and you could see it in their faces that they weren’t comfortable out there.”
After Trinity opened with 6-1 run, Linton-HMB’s head coach Jaime Richter called a timeout.
“I just said, ‘We have to get on offense,’” she said. “We haven’t got a good pass to the setter yet.”
Once the break was over, Linton-HMB (26-10) took its first lead, 13-12, after Amber Umber knocked down a pair of kills. The Lions tacked on one more after a Trinity attacking error.
The Titans’ (21-17), however, didn’t go away.
Junior Gretchen Weir, who had six kills, knotted the match at 14-14. That’s when Nieuwsma stepped in to lead the Lions on an 11-2 run and spiked down the set-winning kill.
“It was awesome,” Nieuwsma said. “This is my first state tournament actually playing. Last year, I sat on the bench.”
The first match set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Linton-HMB’s McKeena Flyberg added 11 kills, while Kaidra Larson supplied seven. Larson also posted four aces. Tiffaney Gerving dished out 31 assists and 10 digs.
“They were pretty diverse in their game,” Braaten said. “Every time they touched that ball, it was coming down. We struggled with our defense today.”
Nieuwsma admitted there were nerves, but she said the team did a good job handling their emotions.
“I think we were all nervous even though we didn’t really say it,” Nieuwsma said. “We were all kind of iffy right away.”
The Lions breezed through the second and third sets while keeping their eyes on Trinity senior outside hitter Alyson Schieno the entire time.
Schieno finished the match with 10 kills and 10 digs.
“I told the girls, you aren’t going to be able to completely stop her,” Richter said. “She’s too good of a hitter.”
Braaten realizes every team is going to key on Schieno.
“That’s going to happen to her all tournament,” Braaten said. “She will need to be stronger than she’s ever been to be as successful as she has been.”
The Titans play Region 5 champion Flasher (27-9) at 11 a.m. Friday in the consolation semifinals. Linton-HMB plays Kindred (33-10) in the semifinals at 5 p.m.
Trinity senior Ali Kovash hopes this match proves to be a learning experience for the remainder of the tournament.
“We are really disappointed with our performance, so that’s going to give us more desire to prove ourselves,” Kovash said. “We want to play the game that we know that we can play.”
LHMB 25 25 25 — 3
Trinity 16 14 13 — 0
Kills: LHMB, Nicole Nieuwsma 14, McKenna Flyberg 11, Kaidra Larson 7, Jadyn Gefroh 4. T, Alyson Schieno 10, Gretchen Weir 6, Katelyn Grinsteinner 2, Allison Steffan 2.
Blocks: LHMB, Gefroh 1, Larson 1, Nieuwsma 1. T, Jillian Stockert 1, Weir 1.
Aces: LHMB, Larson 4. T, Kennedy Keator 3, Ali Kovash 2.
Digs: LHMB, Kayla Jacob 13, Nieuwsma 10, Tiffaney Greving 10, Flyberg 8. T, Schieno 10, Katelyn Rummel 6, Grinsteinner 5.
Assists: LHMB, Gerving 31. T, Katie Dockter 14.