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Blue Hawk Notebook: Nyongesa caps career as an All-American

Nancy Nyongesa has capped a standout career on the Dickinson State volleyball team as a first team NAIA All-American. "It's a nice honor," Blue Hawks coach Dave Moody said. "I hope she appreciates the honor bestowed upon her." The 5-foot-11 senio...

Nancy Nyongesa has capped a standout career on the Dickinson State volleyball team as a first team NAIA All-American.

"It's a nice honor," Blue Hawks coach Dave Moody said. "I hope she appreciates the honor bestowed upon her."

The 5-foot-11 senior led the Blue Hawks in kills (497) and digs (382) this season. She added 127 blocks and 34 aces.

She has been named an All-American all four of her seasons at DSU but her only selection to the first-team

Elizabeth Castillo, a 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter, was an honorable mention selection after racking up 378 kills and 320 digs this season.

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Black Hills State sophomore middle blocker Kristin Engle was the only other Dakota Athletic Conference player named an All-American. She was an honorable mention choice.

Nyongesa, a Kenya native, grew into the role as the Blue Hawks' go-to hitter after an injury hampered senior Elizabeth Rodriguez.

"Probably her versatility got her notice, along with her athleticism," Moody said.

As juniors, Nyongesa was an honorable mention choice and Castillo was named to the second team.

Last year, Rodriguez was a first-team selection but was left off the awards list this season after missing several games with an ankle injury.

"Rodriguez was probably hurt a little bit by the injury when it came down to it," Moody said.

Hebron-Glen Ullin standout signs with DSU

Hebron-Glen Ullin senior guard Kylee Bittner has signed a letter of intent to play women's basketball for DSU.

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"She's kind of a diamond in the rough where she's been kind of hidden," Blue Hawks coach Guy Fridley said. "Her team hasn't been successful the past three, four years."

Bittner is leading the Bearcats, who are off to a 4-3 start, with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists per game. Last season, she chipped in around 14 points, four rebounds and four assists per night.

Fridley hopes to play Bittner at shooting guard, although he seems excited about her defensive abilities.

"She's one that'll fit our style - defensively - perfect," he said. "One thing she brings to the floor every night they play is hard work."

Hawks hope to end

four-game losing skid

Now more than a week removed from the latest of four consecutive losses, the DSU men's basketball team has gotten back to the basics.

DSU coach Ty Orton said the coaching staff took the blame for the loss to Minot State last Thursday and hopes to have things turned around for Saturday's game at Montana-Western.

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"Instead of focusing on making adjustments to the other team, we're focusing on DSU and what we can do better," Orton said. "... Bad habits became worse habits and it kind of exploded on Minot."

The Blue Hawks should be in line for a turnaround. They've already beaten the Bulldogs twice this season. However, this is the first time the teams will meet on Western's home court.

DSU, which is 6-5, won the first meeting with Western 74-69 during a tournament at Montana Tech and then beat the Bulldogs 74-64 during the Sam Milanovich Classic.

"I think we're happy we have another game," Orton said.

With four nonconference games remaining before the DAC season begins, Orton said the team is looking forward, not back.

"We didn't look at the four straight losses. We don't even bring that up," he said.

Monke is the sports editor of The Dickinson Press and covers DSU athletics. Read his blog at www.areavoices.com/monke .

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