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DSU volleyball sweeps Grace, falls to Montana Western

For a brief period of time on Friday, head coach Jenn Hartman and her Dickinson State volleyball players were the proud owners of a four-game win streak -- their longest since 2010.

Dickinson State freshman middle blocker Kennedy Hildebrand, right, goes for a kill against a Grace University defender Friday morning at Scott Gymnasium. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State freshman middle blocker Kennedy Hildebrand, right, goes for a kill against a Grace University defender Friday morning at Scott Gymnasium. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)

For a brief period of time on Friday, head coach Jenn Hartman and her Dickinson State volleyball players were the proud owners of a four-game win streak - their longest since 2010.

But looming was Montana Western, the Blue Hawks' second opponent of the day, and after a successful morning sweep of Grace (Neb.) University in the first leg of their doubleheader, DSU's favor was returned by the Bulldogs, whose prompt afternoon sweep of the Blue Hawks made for a split of the two matches.

Against Grace, with set scores of 25-16, 25-15 and 25-23, the Blue Hawks owned the tempo from the start, and played the entire contest with an ever-present dose of energy. Few things went wrong for DSU, and Hartman was able to substitute in her whole roster toward the end.

The game went particularly well from an attack standpoint; led by Shelby Gustafson's 10, the Blue Hawks tallied 41 kills and just 13 errors, compared to 31 kills and 26 errors for the Royals.

"We came out with a lot of intensity and a good mentality in that first game," Hartman said. "It's really nice to have that teamwork. We really played hard for each other; it was nice to be able to play a lot of people in that game."

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Against Grace, Keera Stookey led DSU in digs with 16. Danielle Boyette and Stookey paced the team in assists, with 18 and 16, respectively.

It was a breezy path to the Blue Hawks' fourth straight win, but after the afternoon break, Montana Western immediately proved to be a much tougher matchup.

DSU was competitive at points in every set, but had no answer for the Bulldogs' offensive speed and efficiency, ultimately dropping the first two sets by score of 25-18, and the third and final set 25-21.

"They're a very quick team, they win lots of quick sets. Being from the Frontier Conference, we knew how good they were," said Gustafson, who finished with 16 kills for the day. "I just think their offense is hard to keep up with. That's something we need to work on."

In the third set, the Blue Hawks battled back from an early deficit to tie the score at 12, the latest point in any set where the margin was even.

But after a service error from DSU made it 13-12, the Bulldogs reeled off another four points in a row to seize control for good. A late run by the Blue Hawks pushed the score to 21-20, but a final four-point run by Montana Western dashed any hopes of a stolen set.

The Bulldogs registered 43 kills - including 13 from Bailey Wilson and 12 from Kylie McCree - compared to only 32 for DSU, and nearly doubled the Blue Hawks hitting percentage at .250 compared to DSU's .122.

"We run what a lot of people call a high-risk offense with the tempo," said Montana Western coach Brent Lewis, "and if we're connecting with that we're usually in good shape, and that's what happened today."

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The Blue Hawks are now off until next Wednesday when they host Jamestown at 5:30 p.m. at Dickinson High gymnasium. The match is part of a Cancer Awareness Night doubleheader, and the Midgets will host Jamestown High at 7 p.m.

Dickinson State 3, Grace University 0

DSU 25 25 25 - 3

GU 16 15 23 - 0

Kills: DSU, Shelby Gustafson 10, Sydney Bentz 7, Ellie Hanser 6. GU, Taylor Thompson 8, Ashley Nickelson 6.

Blocks: DSU, Gustafson 2, Kennedy Hildebrand 2. GU, Aaliyah Dunbar 2, Becca Entz 2.

Aces: DSU, Shayna Uffelman 1. GU, Amber Carlson 2.

Digs: DSU, Keera Stookey 16, Shaylee Singleton 15.

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Assists: DSU, Danielle Boyette 18, Keera Stookey 16. GU, Carlson 8.

Montana Western 3, Dickinson State 0

MW 25 25 25 - 3

DSU 18 18 21 - 0

Kills: DSU, Brenna Hansen 9, Danielle Boyette 6. MW, Bailey Wilson 13, Kylie McCree 16.

Blocks: DSU, Boyette 2. MW, Britney Chilcott 2.

Aces: DSU, Gustafson 1. MW, Jami Flink 2, Cady Siemion 2.

Digs: DSU, Singleton 14, Keera Stookey 10. MW, Fink 14.

Assists: DSU, Boyette 14, Stookey 12. MW, Hanson 39.

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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