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Dickinson beats Williston for senior night game

Defenders on Williston's side of the net look on as Mariah Mortensen of Dickinson winds up a spike, demonstrating dominance on the court that gave Dickinson a 3-1 win over the Coyotes. (Iain Woessner/The Dickinson Press)

Charged with emotion entering their senior night game, Dickinson's volleyball team lit up the court Tuesday night, knocking down the visiting Williston Coyotes 3-1, with two near-shutout sets.

"We stressed that we have to be aggressive, aggressive aggressive ... because we really have been tentative at times," Dickinson head coach Jay Schobinger said postgame. "I think tonight that was a lot of that."

The game opened with Dickinson making a strong starting bid, claiming an early lead that was doggedly challenged at every turn by Williston. The Coyotes clawed their way back to tie the set at 9-9, prior to taking the lead themselves. Senior Shakia Shriver proved a lynchpin of Williston's counter-attack, building up points with skillful kills and aces throughout the night.

Dickinson had to fend off the Coyotes for a close first set, heating up in the final skirmishes to claim a 25-20 win. Flush off that victory, the Midgets opened the second set strong, taking a 5-0 early lead.

This was where the Dickinson girls shone. Mortensen was a powerhouse on the court, claiming nine kills, two blocks and two digs over the course of the night. Morgan Kainz, another senior, demonstrated her acumen by racking up nine kills of her own, three blocks and five aces. Senior Lexi Jordheim put in two aces of her own, and finished with seven confirmed kills.

The Midgets crumbled Williston 25-10 in the second set, and seemed poised to sweep—but the Coyotes dug in their heels and put their brawn to use, fighting a tenacious third set that kept the Midgets on their toes and ultimately knocked them over 25-21.

"They proved they could have finished stronger than they did in that third set, but (they were) in their heads," Williston head coach Rachael Hansana said. "That's been our biggest goal this season, mental toughness, and it just isn't clicking yet."

The fire that Williston showed in the third set was quickly stamped out in the fourth and final one, as Dickinson rallied and overwhelmed the Coyotes in a blistering beatdown that saw the night ended in triumph, 25-5, 3-1.

"It was awesome, it was a great thing for senior night," Mortensen said.

Preceding the game came a tearful assembly that saw senior girls and their parents embracing and being honored before the community, with words of gratitude penned by both coaches and players read aloud by the announcers. Senior Mariah Mortenson reflected on the teammates she'll be leaving behind once she graduates.

"(I'm going to miss) the teammates," Mortensen said. "We just had a lot of fun at team dinners and practices and outside of volleyball we're like family."

Schobinger said that this group of seniors has come together despite encounter hardship on the way.

"Even though they've had to deal with a lot of injuries and things like that ... even though they've had to deal with a lot of things, they come every day. They give you what they have," Schobinger said. "A lot of them have been starting for us for a long time. It's a pretty special night. It's really been a fun group of kids and I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Dickinson 3, Williston 1

D 25 25 21 25 3

W 20 10 25 5 1

Kills: D, Peyton Selle 10, Mariah Mortensen 9, Morgan Kainz 9, Lexi Jordheim 7.

W, Kaia Wenstad 6, Emily Lux 5, Shakia Shriver 3, Danielle Stauffer 3.

Blocks: D, Kainz 3, Mortensen 2, Kylee Showalter 1.

Aces: D, Lauren Jorda 5, Kainz 5, Jordheim 2.

W, Shakia Shriver 4, Brooklyn Douglas 2, Kat Fearing 1, Lauren Fearing 1.

Digs: D, Kendryn Bullinger 11, Mortensen 2, Showalter 1.

W, Vanessa Wagner 16, Jolyssa Marquart 6, Danielle Stauffer 6, Kaia Wenstatd 3, Lauren Fearing 3, Kat Fearing 1, Emily Lux 1

Assists: D, Jorda 36.

W, Vanessa Wagner 1, Brooklyn Douglas 1, Emily Lux 1.