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DSU flies by Vikings: Blue Hawks handle, sweep Valley City State in a nonconference match

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson State freshman Alyson Schieno, middle back, hits a ball past a pair of Valley City State defenders during a nonconference game on Thursday at Scott Gymnasium. Schieno finished with eight kills and the Blue Hawks swept the Vikings 3-0.

Compared to Tuesday night against Mayville State, the Dickinson State volleyball team looked panic free.

The Blue Hawks swept Valley City State 25-22, 25-21, 25-15 in a nonconference matchup Thursday night at the Scott Gymnasium and looked its best since the last time the two teams met on Oct. 15.

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“That’s probably overall the best we played in a long time,” DSU senior setter Kelly O’Connor said. “Everything was flowing, people were putting balls away we spread out our offense it was very good.”

DSU freshman outside hitter Aly Schieno added: “Even if we made a mistake we didn’t go down, we kept our energy up, telling each other it’s OK and we just took the set from them next time.”

In the first two sets, VCSU was able to keep it close. During the second set, DSU struggled early on offensively and was only able to score seven total kills.

VCSU’s senior middle hitter Aurissa Martens gave the Blue Hawks problems throughout the match. The Vikings learned from the last meeting and instead of having Martens hit strictly outside, they moved her around and kept the team guessing early on. Martens led her team with 10 kills on 23 attempts and also had 10 digs.

The Blue Hawks allowed the Vikings to go on multiple runs and they struggled to keep up until point 15-17. VCSU missed six serves and committed eight hitting errors, allowing DSU to climb out of its hole and bounce back into the lead for the rest of the set.

“We forced them into more errors than they forced us,” DSU head coach Jon Stenman said. “I don’t think we hit some great balls today, but we always kept it in the court and when we did make the good shot, it was either throw an arm up for them and it hits the backboard 19 times and comes back into play or a kill for us.”

It only got better from there for the Blue Hawks.

In the third set, the team completely broke away from VCSU and went on a nine-point run at the end of the game, starting with a hard hit kill by Schieno. Early in the season, the former Dickinson Trinity hitter had some trouble fitting into the lineups and finding confidence in the transition. During practice she worked on gaining her confidence back, becoming a more versatile hitter and the hard work paid off Thursday. She led the team in kills with eight and also had three digs. O’Connor followed with 23 assists, five kills and six digs.

“High school volleyball is a lot different from college volleyball. And this conference especially, I’m not used to 6-1, 6-2 blockers,” Schieno said. “But I think I’ve handled it well, I’ve transitioned from that. It took me a little bit but I did it, and with the help of my teammates, especially my captains.”

Stenman added: “Aly got us out of a lot of trouble today. We would get some points against us and Kelly would go to her and she would put the ball away and that’s just her maturation as a hitter.”

The Blue Hawks get back into conference play and host Carroll College at 2 p.m. Saturday. With only four games left in the regular season, every game counts. The Saints and Blue Hawks have not played each other this season and Stenman said he is hesitant to give his team a scouting report on them.

For VCSU, he did not tell his players anything about the team and let them go in, learn to adjust and not play on preconceived notions and old game tape. It worked with Montana State-Northern and South Dakota School of Mines left. He hopes it will work again and give them the courage to play well against conference teams.

“If we can beat Carroll on Saturday, that will give us the confidence to beat Northern next week,” Stenman said.

The Hawks are excited to play the remainder of the season and hope Wednesday’s energy and enthusiasm from the win carries over into Saturday.

“We’re going to try and play at this level from here on out,” O’Connor said. “We’re really going to try and finish the season strong into the conference tournament and hopefully get a couple upsets.”

VCSU 22 21 15 — 0

DSU 25 25 25 — 3

Kills: VCSU, Aurissa Martens 10, Alley Theroux 7, Kelsey Labodi 5, Kaitlyn Heuring 4, Rachel Hummel 2, Ali Scott 2, Jen Wettstein 1. DSU, Aly Schieno 8, Melissa Avila 6, Kelly O’Connor 5, Linaya Schroeder 4, Maggie Rauser 4, Tasha Malana 1, Kate Golding 1.

Blocks: VCSU, Barbara Ector 1. DSU, Rauser 1.

Aces: VCSU, Megan Good 1, Emily Plowman 1. DSU, Meghan Meyer 3, Rauser 3.

Digs: VCSU, Plowman 13, Martens 10, Theroux 6, Stephanie Miller 6, Wettstein 4, Labodi 2, Heuring 1, Megan Olson 1. DSU, Malana 12, Avila 11, Meyer 11, Justine Braunagel 6, O’Connor 6, Schieno 3, Schroeder 2, Rauser 2.

Assists: VCSU, Good 13, Miller 11, Hummel 1, Wettstein 1, Olson1. DSU, O’Connor 23, Malana 3, Avila 1, Rauser 1.

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  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 and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.