The 3-1 set victory on the road against Dakota State on Saturday marked the end of the Dickinson State volleyball team’s first half of the season. The team ended the first half with an overall record of 3-4 but with a conference record of 3-3.
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 NAIA volleyball season was split in two halves with part one taking place in the fall. The second is scheduled to take place in the spring. Dickinson State head coach Jennifer Willis was satisfied with how the first half of the season played with her squad.
“I think we did a very good job of winning the matches that we should have won for the most part,” Willis said. “There’s a couple that we wish we could take back and redo, but that’s why we’re lucky enough that we get to have a do-over in the spring when we play everybody again.”
In the first game of the season, the Blue Hawks fell 3-2 in a non-conference battle against Valley City, but followed it up by defeating Viterbo University 3-2 and Waldorf University 3-0. Following the back-to-back victories, the team hit a icey streak losing its next three games, the hardest being a loss at the hands of Presentation College when the team lost its 2-0 set lead and, eventually, lost the match 15-10 in the fifth and final set.
“We learned a lot this first half of the season,” Willis said. “We learned we need to finish games, that Presentation game is going to haunt us for a while. Probably until we can play them again in the spring.”
Following a postponed rematch against Valley City due to the Vikings having confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Blue Hawks hit the road on Saturday to take on the Dakota State Trojans and defeated the team 3-1.
“We’re just really proud of how they finished strong against Dakota State,” Willis said. “Our confidence got a little shaky there in the third set, but they were able to just kinda regroup into the fourth set, and they did a pretty good job of pushing forward and finishing strong in the match.”
The Blue Hawks were originally scheduled to play a postponed game against Valley City on Wednesday, but have announced the game will be played at a later date in the spring.
With the first half of the season coming to a close, Willis and the Blue Hawks will have time to relax, review previous games, make adjustments and, most importantly, allow athletes to heal from injuries.
“It’s exciting, especially with a couple kids that got injured during this fall season now getting time to heal up, which is really nice, so that we’re enjoying this split season,” Willis said. “We just got to get a little stronger and work on the things that we really need to work on during this break.”
Currently, the Blue Hawks are to resume the second half of the season on March 12 on the road against Viterbo University. However, the postponed Valley City rematch could be rescheduled to an earlier date. The team’s final match of the regular season is currently scheduled for March 31.
The NSAA conference tournament is scheduled to begin the first official week of April and the national tournament is scheduled to begin the first week of May.