The Dickinson State University volleyball team was riding high after a 3-1 start to the season, and their home opener against the Montana State University-Northern Skylights didn’t stop their momentum.

The Blue Hawks took the match over the Skylights three sets to one, and they improved their record to 4-1.

“We are playing as a family this year which is awesome,” senior Kennedy Hildebrand said. “We have a really good connection between the front row and back row, so it really fun to play with everyone when we are in the same mindset.”

The match started out tight in set one, but the Blue Hawks went on a run in the middle of the set, and they never looked back from there. A two point advantage almost halfway through the set quickly turned into a 19-11 lead for Dickinson State.

The Skylights attempted to bridge the gap, but they were unable to do so as an ace by sophomore Jenna Swope put the Blue Hawks up 22-16. Only a short few minutes later teammate Kadara Marshall slammed down a kill to take set one 25-18.

In the second set, Dickinson State took control from the beginning. Baylie Dashner recorded several kills in the set and once again Marshall used her magic to win the set with a kill. Montana State Northern only scored 15 points in the 25-15 set loss that put them one set loss away from defeat to Dickinson State.

The decisive third set for the Blue Hawks was closest one of the night. It went to the Skylights as they kept the match alive and avoided being swept.

The Blue Hawks started off strong 3-0, but later on six points in a row put the visitors on top by a score of 13-11. After an 18-18 tie, Montana State Northern went on a run and took the set 25-22 with a kill that ended it.

Dickinson State did not want the match to go to a winner take all fifth set, so winning the fourth was imperative.

They did just that as a strong start to the set helped seal the match. Ellie Hanser and Abby Moerkerke recorded back-to-back kills that put Dickinson State up 15-9.

However, the end of the match wasn’t without drama. The Skylights pulled within one point, but they could never tie the match. A serve over the backline from Montana State Northern gave the Blue Hawks the victory in their home opener.

“It was a nice team win,” head coach Jennifer Hartman. “We just want to keep building off the progress and success that we have seen this season already.”