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Blue Hawks volleyball downed in home opener

In its first home game of the season, the Dickinson State volleyball team opened its match with an impressive dose of energy, but it wasn't enough in what turned into a sweep for University of Mary at Scott Gymnasium.

Sophomore outside hitter Sydney Bentz attempts to block a spike by University of Mary's Elizabeth Garcia in Dickinson State's loss Tuesday at Scott Gymnasium.
Sophomore outside hitter Sydney Bentz attempts to block a spike by University of Mary's Elizabeth Garcia in Dickinson State's loss Tuesday at Scott Gymnasium.

In its first home game of the season, the Dickinson State volleyball team opened its match with an impressive dose of energy, but it wasn't enough in what turned into a sweep for University of Mary at Scott Gymnasium.

Playing in front of supportive home crowd, the Blue Hawks (1-8) raced out to a 7-5 lead against the Marauders (4-1).

But as their initial adrenaline wore down, the visitors settled in and began to outwork the Blue Hawks, coming back to win the set, and the match, in a non-conference sweep (25-15, 25-19, 25-12) that spoiled DSU's first chance to play in front of a home crowd.

The closest the Blue Hawks came to claiming a set was in the second, when DSU responded to a 20-11 deficit with a 9-4 run, but the spurt of good play was too little too late, as the Marauders put an end to the run and then cruised to the sweep in a dominant third set.

With Thayna Silva leading the way, the University of Mary almost tripled the Blue Hawks amount of kills (43-15), and had 10 service aces to DSU's two. Every time their opponent would put together a run of two or three straight points, the Marauders used a lethal combination of passes and spikes to throw the home team and its crowd out of rhythm.

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"I think the environment helped us a little bit, because when we go out to play against our conference opponents that's how it is. We're used to that," University of Mary coach Thais Franca said. "We kept the mentality of 'We have to win even if we aren't playing our best.' We had that from the first time we fell behind. That's what stuck out to me."

For head coach Jenn Hartman and her Blue Hawks, it was the sixth loss by a sweep of the season. Part of the problem so far has been putting together a complete match where all players are in sync, according to Hartman, whose roster consists of eight freshmen.

"Either the pass wasn't there, the set wasn't there or the hit wasn't there. We were kind of all scattered and never really on the same page," she said. "It's either a really big high or a really low low. We need to learn how to be more consistent and even keel throughout the whole game."

Preseason all-conference pick Danielle Boyette led the Blue Hawks statistically, and was at the center of the team's hot start and second set run. She finished with a team-high 11 assists and five digs. She also had one of the two service aces of the evening for DSU.

"We all have a lot of confidence in each other. We try not to get frustrated by a loss like that, but we know we have a lot of things to work on. It's a new team, we have a lot of freshmen," Boyette said. "We just need to work on getting the defense and the offense together as a whole. Sometimes we'll be off on defense and sometimes the hitting is off. It just needs to come together, and we know it will."

After a slow start to the season, the Blue Hawks have an upcoming weekend without any games scheduled - their next match is at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City on Sept. 13.

"We really just need to work on chemistry right now and all being on the same page," Hartman said. "Because we don't have any games this weekend, we just kind of talked about how we're going to fix it in practice."

University of Mary 3, Dickinson State 0

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UM 25 25 25 - 0

DSU 15 19 12 - 3

Kills: UM, Thayna Silva 19, Lauren Randall 10. DSU, Brenna Hansen 4, Sydney Bentz 4, Danielle Boyette 3.

Blocks: DSU, Tessa Sian 2, Shelby Gustafson 2.

Aces: UM, Alex Brown 3, Elise Bauman 2, Goevana Almeida 2, Randall 2. DSU, Boyette 1, Shaylee Singleton 1.

Digs: UM, Silva 7, Brown 6. DSU, Boyette 5, Singleton 3, Molina 3.

Assists: UM, Janell Finkbeiner 24, Katelyn Olson 11. DSU, Boyette 11, Keera Stookey 2.

Records: UM 4-1, DSU 1-8.

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