Blue Hawk kicker is looking to rebound
Dickinson State senior kicker Shawn O'Brien had one of the worst games of his collegiate career last Saturday against Dakota State. On Monday, O'Brien was back at Whitney Stadium, going through his regimen, looking forward to Saturday's game agai...
Dickinson State senior kicker Shawn O'Brien had one of the worst games of his collegiate career last Saturday against Dakota State.
On Monday, O'Brien was back at Whitney Stadium, going through his regimen, looking forward to Saturday's game against South Dakota Mines.
"You've got to bounce back," O'Brien said. "You're going to win some and lose some."
O'Brien battled a tricky crosswind and lost, missing three fourth-quarter field goals and an extra point in DSU's 14-12 loss to the Trojans.
Any one of his field goals would have put DSU in the lead, and likely given the Blue Hawks their first victory of the season.
"It's just one of those games, and I'm going to do the same thing," O'Brien said. "... It doesn't matter if it's an extra point or if it's a 50-yarder. I've got to go out and hit them."
An honorable mention NAIA All-American as a true freshman, O'Brien hasn't come close to duplicating the 17 of 21 field-goal rate he enjoyed in 2004.
As a sophomore, he was 5 of 9. Last year, he converted just 6 of 18 field goals but helped the Blue Hawks win close games against Minot State and Valley City State.
Having poise on the field is important to O'Brien.
"I've got confidence still, and I think that's the most important thing," he said.
Despite his recent lack of luck, O'Brien is on pace to become the Blue Hawks' all-time leader in field goals. In four years, O'Brien has made 29 field goals - the most recent was during DSU's loss to Montana State-Northern to open the season.
The school record is 33, held by Tyson Niewoehner, who played from 1996-99.
DSU coach Hank Biesiot said several factors contributed to the Blue Hawks' loss to Dakota State. However, he believes it is easy to single out O'Brien's performance.
"He stands out more," Biesiot said. "It's a little different because he's so isolated."
RB Hepperle could be lost for the season
Zach Hepperle was having the best game of his season against Dakota State when a pile up in the second quarter awkwardly twisted his left knee, likely tearing the Medial Collateral Ligament.
Hepperle, the Blue Hawks' sophomore starting running back, will have his knee examined by doctors today to determine the breadth of the injury. If the ligament is torn, he'll likely miss the rest of the regular season.
"That's a big blow because he was having his best game of the year," Biesiot said. "Zach's versatile. We're going to miss the versatility."
Hepperle started tailback, but has seen time at both wide receiver and kick returner.
"He's a guy you can throw in on short notice and he adapts," Biesiot said.
If Hepperle's injury is as bad as team doctors believe it is, it will be the second consecutive season the Blue Hawks' starting running back suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Last season, senior Damon Woolsey was lost for the season with a broken leg in the season opener against Montana State-Northern.
"It sets you back," Biesiot said. "But it better only be for 30 seconds because you have to run the next play."
DSU volleyball continues to sweep honors
For the third consecutive week, Dickinson State senior setter Katelynn Stiefel has been named the Dakota Athletic Conference volleyball setter of the week. Stiefel had 109 assists in DSU's victories over Dakota State and Jamestown College last weekend.
Senior Nancy Nyongesa continued the Blue Hawks' dominance in the DAC player- of-the-week department as well. She is the third DSU player to earn the honor in three weeks of voting. Elizabeth Rodriguez and Judith Boel were previously named player of the week.
Nyongesa hit .439 with 32 kills and 28 digs last weekend.