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A bittersweet end: Titans finish 7th at State Tournament

"...Only 12 teams get to end their season on a win and I’m so happy we could be one of the 12," Ava Jahner said.

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The Trinity Titans charged through three sets against the Garrison Troopers to take the 7th place State Tournament title.
Josiah Cuellar / The Dickinson Press
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BISMARCK — The Trinity Titans took on the Garrison Troopers for the seventh place title at the Class B Volleyball State Tournament on Nov. 19 at the Bismarck Event Center and plowed through the Troopers 3-0.

“The game today was a great way to end the season,” Olivia Kessel, Titans junior middle hitter said. “We came out really wanting a win and our hard work paid off. We also had fun today and finished the season playing together as a team.”

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The Titans wrap up their season with smiling faces and a seventh place State title.
Josiah Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Garrison and Trinity entered the game with 0-2 records at State this year. The Troopers are coached by Brooke Walter, who is leading the team for her first season as head coach. Garrison is an upperclassman dominant team with nine seniors on the roster, but they were collectively unable to contain the fierce Trinity offense of Ava Jahner, Melissa Zach and Olivia Kessel.

Last year, Garrison finished in seventh place and Trinity finished in sixth at the Tournament. This year, the Titans battled through tight sets with Garrison and swooped into lead changes throughout the game. They were first to score in set one, but Garrison was quick and scrappy, tying the score four times before Trinity gained separation with a 10-point lead. Overshot kill attempts, service errors and miss-hits into the net cost the Troopers points they shouldn’t have surrendered. Right side Melissa Zach put up the winning kill for Trinity to claim the set 25-14.

"We wanted to end the season on a W and go out with a bang," Trinity Head Coach Breanna Sisson said. "We made sure we kept momentum and were climbing from the start of the game and ending strong..."

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Trinity outside hitter Helena Pavek catches air to make contact with the ball.
Josiah Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Set two was closely contested. The score increased quickly and tied often. Overshot attacks by Trinity and miscommunication gave Garrison easy free points. The Troopers led by four, planting the ball in Trinity’s middle open pockets of the court. Five Titans stood around the ball as it bounced to the floor. Trinity shifted their pace and regained control of the offense late in the set and Garrison started to lose their flow in long rallies.

“I think we got a little bit comfortable in the second set, but we fought through it,” Kessel said. “Garrison also had some very good servers which put us on our heels a bit.”

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Delaney Deschamp sets up a pass at the net to Olivia Kessel.
Josiah Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

In the third, Trinity was down by four points again, but Jahner stepped up to cut the gap in half. Compared to the Semifinal Consolation game, the Titans maintained better coverage of their far back court and were able to keep rallies alive despite challenging long shots and regular floor dives. Kessel teamed with Jahner to regain possession of the match and tie the score at 10.

Long and wide shots out of bounds by Garrison dropped them out of the lead and opened the door for Trinity setter Delaney Deschamp to do her work on the front line. The Titans tracked the ball well, propelling themselves to a six-point lead. Garrison was forced to chase balls and were broken out of system nearing the end of the match. Trinity continued their drive, increasing their lead to nine points to finish the set 25-16.

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Defensive specialist Serenity Pavlicek swoops low to save a ball for the Titans.
Josiah Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

“It’s bittersweet because obviously it’s not the outcome we wanted,” Jahner said. “But, as coach was telling us, only 12 teams get to end their season on a win, and I’m so happy we could be one of the 12.”

Class B State Tournament Results:

7th Place: Trinity def. Garrison High School 3-0 (25-14,25-21,25-16)
Team Leaders THS: Kills—21, Ava Jahner; 12, Bella Kovash; 10, Olivia Kessel; 8, Melissa Zach; 4, Helena Pavek; Aces— 3, Kovash; 1, Nevaeh Muckle, Jersey Erie, Jahner; Blocks—2, Kessel; 1, Pavek, Delaney Deschamp; Digs— 16, Jahner; 13, Erie; 12, Serenity Pavlicek; 6, Kessel, Muckle; Assists— 41, Deschamp

5th Place: New Rockford-Sheyenne def. Our Redeemer’s 3-2 (25-22,25-19,20-25,18-25,16-14)

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3rd Place: Thompson High School def. Kenmare Bowbells 3-1 (25-11,25-16,19-25,25-22)

Final: Northern Cass def. Linton/HMB 3-2 (25-16,23-25,21-25,25-21,15-10)

READ MORE BY AMBER I. NEATE
DICKINSON — It was a bleak home game season opener for the Dickinson Midgets girl’s hockey team Dec. 2. Their heads hung low following a brutal 9-2 loss against West Fargo United. The opening day loss comes as the season starts and memories of last year's difficult 4-16 season are still fresh.

Amber Neate grew up in rural Skull Valley, Arizona. Her passion of covering sports of all types, including personal favorites wrestling, hockey, rodeo and football, began at an early age.

She obtained her Associate of Arts Degree from Yavapai Community College before attending Northern Arizona University for a three-year journalism program. While at NAU, Neate worked as an Assistant Sports Editor for the Lumberjack Newspaper as well as a hockey commentator for KJACK Radio.

Gaining her experience working for a small community paper, The Wickenburg Sun, as a general news and features reporter, her love for sports and a small-town community brings her to Dickinson to cover southwest North Dakota sports.

LANGUAGES: English
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