MINOT - After a year of dominance, the Dickinson Trinity volleyball team showed its resiliency in the final two days of the North Dakota Class B State Volleyball Tournament.
Suffering a defeat to eventual runner-up Oakes in the state quarterfinals, the Titans bounced back the next day with a sweep over Kenmare. In the fifth-place match on Saturday, Nov. 17, No. 5 Dickinson Trinity dropped its first set to Center-Stanton 22-25, but rallied to take the next three frames 25-10, 25-13, 25-21, closing out its season with a victory from the Minot State Dome.
"I was very proud of how we played. After dropping that first set, we bounced back and realized that we can't let this opportunity to play one more game together, we can't let that slip away," Titans head coach Breanna Sisson said. "After that first set, we came out hard. We were aggressive at the net and we really just wanted to end our season on a high note."
Led by senior outside hitter Morgan Vitek, who paced her team with seven kills and a pair of aces, the unseeded Wildcats had the Titans on their heels in the opening frame, proving to be a different team than what Sisson and her players faced during a previous meeting earlier this season.
"They were being aggressive at the net; they were serving very well. Sometimes it takes a set to really figure out a team," Sisson said. "We haven't seen Center-Stanton since our first day of competition back in August. From then until now, they definitely have improved a lot. ... It just sometimes takes one set to really figure out how we need to adjust to a team."
Dickinson Trinity turned the tables and became the aggressor in the middle of the match. Following .044 attack percentage and 13 hitting errors in the first frame, the Titans struck the ball more efficiently, converting on 44 percent of their attacks in the second frame, 21 percent in the third, while only committing four errors in each of those two sets.
"Once they know that it's a new set and that the score is 0-0, they have another chance to really be aggressive," Sisson said. "Really, they just realized that they need to come out and have fun. ... They knew they only had this one game left and they wanted really take this opportunity to go out with a bang and go out with a win."
Dickinson Trinity seniors topped all statistical categories, led by senior outside hitter Masy Kuntz, who earned team-highs with 21 kills and three blocks, while also adding 16 digs. Senior outside hitter Farrah Zeller paced the No. 5 seed with 21 digs and four aces. Titans senior setter and Valley City State University commit Alexa Walby collected 50 assists.
At tournament's end, Walby and Kuntz were named to the All-Tournament team. Two days later, the teammates earned spots on Class B All-State team; Walby makes the team for the second consecutive season while it is Kuntz's first appearance. The duo was joined by Bowman County senior middle hitter Ellie Stanton as the only All-State selections from Region 7.
Dickinson Trinity finished its strong season with a 39-6 record. Nine seniors competed in their final match for the Titan program, going out with a seventh-place finish at state last year and a fifth-place finish in 2018.
"These nine seniors, they came in as freshman during my first year as head coach and they've really helped build this program for what it is today," Sisson said. "In the locker room after the game, it's always emotional playing your last game. Especially with such a big group of seniors, you can't help but get emotional because you get so close with this group of girls. I just wish them the best of luck in everything they do from here on out."
Class B State Volleyball Tournament: Fifth-Place Match
No. 5 Dickinson Trinity 3, Center-Stanton 1
DT 22 25 25 25 - 3
CS 25 10 13 21 - 1
Kills: DT, Masy Kuntz 21, Bre Tessier 12, Amaya Willer 10, Farrah Zeller 7, Abbey Kubas 6, Alexa Walby 3. CS, Morgan Vitek 7, Amber Frank 5, Kathryn Kraft 4, Teegan Henke 3, Ashley Frank 3, Teanna Hintz 3, Rebecca Schmidt 1.
Blocks: DT, Kuntz 3, Macy Gress 1, A. Kubas 1, Tessier 1. CS, Hintz 3, Am. Frank 2, As. Frank 1, Vitek 1, Kraft 1.
Aces: DT, Zeller 4, Asia Willer 3, Tessier 1, Walby 1. CS, Vitek 2, As. Frank 1, Am. Frank 1, Kraft 1.
Digs: DT, Zeller 21, Kuntz 16, Ali Daniel 14, Tessier 13, As. Willer 10, Walby 9, A. Kubas 3. CS, Vitek 18, Am. Frank 9, Karsyn Haag 7, Hintz 6, As. Frank 6, Amanda Huber 3, Kraft 3, Henke 2, #3 2.
Assists: DT, Walby 50, Kubas 3, Zeller 1, Willer 1, Daniel 1. CS, As. Frank 12, Schmidt 5, Am. Frank 2, Henke 2, Hintz 1.
Records: DT, 39-6. CS, 35-10.
2018 All-Tournament Team
Tessa Olson, Minot Our Redeemer's. Morgan Vitek, Center-Stanton. Alexa Walby, Masy Kuntz, Dickinson Trinity. Bailey Nelson, Liberty Fiz, Northern Cass. Callie Ronningen, Madison Pritchard, Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich. Jaida Seyer, Marisa Garza, Sadie Hansen, Nicole Schmitz, Oakes. Lauren Cunningham, Macy Jordheim, Taylor Zak, Thompson.
2018 NDHSCA Class B Volleyball All-State Team
Maria Blessum, Rugby. Katie Entzi, Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier. Danielle Hagler, North Star. Marissa Jensen, Kenmare. Masy Kuntz, Alexa Walby, Dickinson Trinity. Kyley Lauf, Des Lacs-Burlington. Bailey Nelson, Northern Cass. Tessa Olson, Minot Our Redeemer's. Madison Pritchard, Callie Ronningen, Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich. Payton Richter, Central Cass. Nicole Schmitz, Oakes. Ellie Stafford, Bowman County. Morgan Vitek, Center-Stanton. Taylor Zak, Thompson.
NDHSCA Class B Volleyball Senior Athlete of the Year
Taylor Zak, Thompson.
NDHSCA Class B Volleyball Coach of the Year
Lisa Strand, Thompson.