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Trinity handles Night Hawks

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity senior Katelyn Grinsteinner, right, pushes a shot past Hettinger-Scranton’s Cassie Holt during the Region 7 Tournament on Monday at Knights of Columbus Activites Center.

In the 1970s, the Cincinnati Reds were nicknamed “The Big Red Machine.”

Hettinger-Scranton head volleyball coach Jon Kohler used the same nickname to symbolize Dickinson Trinity’s play on Monday.

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“They are an intimidating team,” he said. “They are big. They hit well. They dig well. We were just really nervous and we had a lot of jitters in that first set.”

The Titans didn’t waste building an early, commanding lead en route to a sweep of the Night Hawks 25-8, 25-16, 25-16 during the quarterfinals of the Region 7 Tournament at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

“I’m very proud of our performance,” Trinity head coach Rayma Braaten said. “We looked really good in that first set and they kept their composure. For the most part, we stayed consistent.”

During the first set, Trinity opened with a 15-5 run, which including a pair of Kennedy Keator kills. The sophomore outside hitter finished with a team-high seven kills, two aces and one block.

After the quick start, the Titans continued gaining confidence from there. Keator said the team continued to gain momentum with every point.

“It really helped that we had a practice this morning and I think that really warmed us up for the game,” Keator said. “When someone gets a kill, everyone gets their energy up and it really helps us out a lot. It gives us more confidence throughout the game.”

Trinity senior outside hitter Katelyn Grinsteinner ripped the final three kills in the first set to take an early win.

However, Grinsteinner’s heroics continued in the second set — especially at the service line. Hettinger-Scranton held a 15-13 advantage after a Kaylee Pierce block. After the block, the Titans called a timeout.

Once the break was over, Grinsteinner and Titans came marching back going on an 11-0 run. Hettinger-Scranton’s Kaitlin Reitz, who finished with three kills and six digs, ripped down a kill to end Trinity’s run, but the Night Hawks committed a serve error on the next play to end the second set.

“We were all really excited coming out onto the court,” said Grinsteinner, who finished with six kills, three aces and seven digs. “We knew that this was it and this is what we’ve been working for all season. We just gave it all we had.”

With the first two sets conquered by Trinity runs, the third and final set was no different. However, this time it was sophomore Madison Jahner, who led the way for the Titans.

When Jahner stepped to the service line, the Night Hawks held a 4-2 lead. When Jahner left the serve line, the Titans had an 11-4 lead, which they never let go. In the match, Jahner finished with five aces.

The Titans continued to roll throughout the third set as Gretchen Weir knocked down the game-winning kill. Weir finished with four kills and one block.

“Our girls didn’t give up once,” Kohler said. “They gave everything they could. (Trinity) is just a strong team. I thought my girls — for the nerves they had and my seniors — showed great poise for most of it. Trinity gets on those runs and they are able to take you out of a match. That’s what they did and hats off to them.”

McKinsey Jahner led Hettinger-Scranton with six kills and three digs, while Talyssa Kvanig dished out 13 assists. Brooke Slater posted a team-high seven digs and three kills.

Trinity’s Jillian Stockert had a game-high 15 digs, while Allison Steffan posted five kills. Katie Dockter supplied 21 assists and four digs.

With one game in the books, the Titans continue their journey for their second consecutive trip to the North Dakota Class B state tournament as the team play No. 6 seed New England in the Region 7 Tournament semifinals at 8 p.m. today.

“We just want to continue what we did today and play our game,” Braaten said. “If we play our game, I’ll be happy.”

HS 8 16 16 — 0

Trinity 25 25 25 — 3

Kills: HS, McKinsey Jahner 6, Kaitlin Reitz 3, Brooke Slater 3, Kaylee Pierce 2, Cassie Holt 2. T, Kennedy Keator 7, Katelyn Grinsteinner 6, Allison Steffan 5, Brianna Soehren 5, Gretchen Weir 4.

Blocks: HS, Pierce 2. T, Kennedy Keator 1, Weir 1.

Aces: HS, Jahner 1. T, Madison Jahner 5, Grinsteinner 3, Keator 2.

Digs: HS, Slater 7, Cassie Andress 6, Holt 6, Reitz 4. T, Jillian Stockert 15, Grinsteinner 7, Keator 4, Katie Dockter 4.

Assists: HS, Talyssa Kvanig 13. T, Dockter 21.