The Dickinson State volleyball team opened up their 2020 season with a nail biter on the road on Wednesday night.

They took Valley City State (1-5) to five sets, but in the end the Blue Hawks (0-1) fell flat in the fifth and final set losing narrowly 3-2.

“When we were aggressive offensively and defensively, things went well for us,” Dickinson State head coach Jennifer Willis said. “We need to keep that mentality throughout a whole match. You could tell this was our first match of the season. We made a few dumb mistakes at the wrong times. We really need to clean that up.”

The Blue Hawks took set one leading by as many as five, 23-18, but the Vikings battled back bringing the score within a single point at 24-23. Freshman Alyssa Andress slammed home a kill giving Dickinson State the set win, 25-23.

Playing in her first match, Andress who is from Hettinger finished with four kills.

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“Alyssa is a true freshman, but she has really good volleyball sense and court sense,” Willis said. “She does an excellent job for us. It was nice to get her some reps, and it was a good experience for her. We are excited to see what she can do this season. She is aggressive and plays like an upperclassmen. That is all you can ask from a player. "

After losing set two and three, 25-18 and 25-16 respectively, set four was a must win to extend the match, and that is exactly what the Blue Hawks did.

They looked to be cruising up 21-14 after a service error by Valley City State, but the Vikings roared back trying to end the match.

With the Blue Hawks once again up 24-23, Dickinson State scored the next point forcing a winner take the match set five.

“We start playing it safe (with a lead) instead of being confident and finishing out the set strong,” Willis said. “It is something we need to work on going into next week. It is nice, because we have about ten days until we play again. We need to be aggressive and get better in practice this next week.”

Junior transfer Mackenna Johnson recorded a kill to tie the fifth set at one, but then things went downhill for the Blue Hawks.

The Vikings went on a 6-0 run all but ensuring a loss for Dickinson State and winning 15-8.

Johnson led the Blue Hawks with 13 kills and senior Baylie Dashner totaled 11.

“Mackenna and Baylie both showed up and played like upperclassmen,” Willis said. “It was exciting and what we expected from them so that was good.”

Karlie Cleveland led Dickinson State with four service aces.

Valley City State (1-5) 23 25 25 23 15
Dickinson State (0-1) 25 18 16 25 8
Dickinson State stats

Serving (aces): Karlie Cleveland 4, Baylie Dashner 2, Mackenna Johnson 1, Abby Moerkerke 1. Set assists: Karlie Cleveland 26, Bailey Pearcy 7, Abby Moerkerke 2, Sarah Dobitz 1, Janine Crooks 1. Hitting (kills): Mackenna Johnson 13, Baylie Dashner 11, Abby Moerkerke 7, Karlie Cleveland 5, Alyssa Andress 4, Shaina Salon 3, Janine Crooks 2. Blocking (aces): Shaina Salon 5, Janine Crooks 5, Mackenna Johnson 3, Karlie Cleveland 3, Abby Moerkerke 3, Alyssa Andress 2, Baylie Dashner 1.