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Carroll College breezes by DSU

Press Photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State freshman middle hitter Maddie Rauser, middle, and senior Kelly O’Connor, left, go up for a block against Carroll College’s Rebecca Sweeney during a Frontier Conference match on Saturday at Scott Gymnasium. The Saints swept the Blue Hawks 3-0.

What comes up must come down has been the story of the Dickinson State volleyball team’s season.

After Thursday’s victory over Valley City State, the Blue Hawks couldn’t get the momentum to swing in their direction Saturday, losing a Frontier Conference game 25-15, 25-18, 25-17 to Carroll College at Scott Gymnasium.

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Carroll (15-17), who is in the middle of the Frontier Conference, had a slow start to its season but has found its confidence, especially with seniors Catie Hanser, Elli Graff and Karla Hellegaard. Graff had eight kills and a dig, while Hellegaard recorded four kills and three assists.

“We started off pretty slow in that second game, but we picked it up and played pretty well,” Carroll head coach Moe Boyle said. “Right now our seniors our starting to play really really well and we’re relying on them. I’m excited about the way they’re playing right now.”

DSU head coach Jon Stenman rated his team’s performance as a “solid C.” Defensively, the team did well, recording 53 digs, 25 in the first set, but lacked mental clarity throughout the game. The Blue Hawks (4-23) had nine hitting errors in the first set and recorded only eight kills in the first and second sets.

The Blue Hawks senior outside hitter Melissa Avila, who led her team with 13 kills and had an assist and 10 digs, struggled until the third set when she stopped hitting into the block and started to hit down the line. Out of the 12 kills the Blue Hawks scored in the set, Avila had six with four going down the line.

“We are a better team than Carroll,” Stenman said. “In my opinion, we are a better team. And we got them out of system a lot which is what we wanted to do, but we couldn’t capitalize on it. We tried to go to the same place over and over again expecting a different result.”

Avila added: “A couple of people went into their turtle shell, made a couple mistakes and kind of went inside. In those times, you have to do the opposite. When that happens, you have to just be aggressive and say ‘no, I’m going to get the next one.’ Don’t say you’re sorry, don’t say my bad, just get the next one. That builds confidence.”

The Blue Hawks are off until Tuesday when they play their final home game of the season against South Dakota School of Mines at 7 p.m. It will also be an emotional night for Avila, Kelly O’Connor and Linaya Schroeder because it is senior night. Although the match will focus around the three seniors, freshman Kate Golding said this game means a lot to the rest of the team because what the seniors have done for them.

“The seniors have done so much for us,” Golding said. “They teach us something new every day, they pick us up when we’re down, they lead by example on and off the court. They really mean a lot to us and we want to really want to finish out on a high, because we have so much potential we can show our fans and show each other what we can do these next couple games and go into conferences.”

Last time DSU played Mines on Sept. 10, the game went into five sets and the team failed to finish the set out, falling to the Hardrockers. Although the team has improved its game since then and picked up four wins, its confidence level is still waning which was evident Saturday.

In the four games the Blue Hawks have won, or even in close losses, the team played with confidence and showed its potential. But when there is a lack of confidence, DSU completely falls apart. Stenman said for Tuesday’s game he won’t be focusing on Mines at all and just try and rebuild his team’s confidence and aggressiveness.

“The preparation on Monday is going to have absolutely nothing to do with School of Mines, nothing,” Stenman said. “It’s going to be about getting our heads straight. It doesn’t matter what School of Mines does if we don’t have our heads on straight, we won’t beat them period. Monday is all about getting our confidence back, getting a little groove going again and light some fires under some tails because if we don’t play smart, it doesn’t matter who’s across the net we won’t win.”

CC 25 25 25 — 3

DSU 15 18 17 — 0

Kills: CC, Rebecca Sweeney 11, Elli Graff 8, Sarah Roshak 4, Kathleen Mulligan 4, Karla Hellegaard 4, Paige Montgomery 4, Kylie Dirham 3, Jonni Dorr 1, Calli Prestwood 1. DSU, Melissa Avila 13, Kate Golding 6, Kelly O’Connor 3, Maggie auser 3, Aly Schieno 2, Linaya Schroeder 1.

Blocks: CC, Montgomery 2. DSU, none.

Aces: CC, Dorr 3, Natalie Kassa 1. DSU, Meghan Meyer 1, O’Connor 1.

Digs: CC, Kassa 14, Madeleine Fey 8, Dorr 6, Hanser 6, Sweeney 4, Emily Burk 4, Emma Priddy 1, Dirham 1, Katy Degroot 1, Graff 1, Mulligan 1, Hellegaard 1. DSU, O’Connor 17, Tasha Malana 10, Avila 10, Meyer 6, Justine Braunagel 5, Schieno 3, Schroeder 1, Rauser 1.

Assists: CC, Dorr 14, Burk 11, DeGroot 5, Hellegaard 3, Roshak 1. DSU, O’Connor 20, Malana 3, Schroeder 1, Avila 1.

Records: CC 15-17, DSU 4-23

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.