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Franklin fires up

Dickinson State senior Crystal Franklin doesn't show a lot of emotion on the volleyball court. The middle hitter from Harvey, Ill., typically lets her fists do the talking, spiking down hard kills for the Blue Hawks. But on Saturday afternoon aga...

Dickinson State junior Jennifer Hartman get the kill
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson State junior Jennifer Hartman, right, watches her kill go past Dakota State senior Margie Anthony on Saturday afternoon during a Dakota Athletic Conference volleyball match at Scott Gymnasium.

Dickinson State senior Crystal Franklin doesn't show a lot of emotion on the volleyball court.

The middle hitter from Harvey, Ill., typically lets her fists do the talking, spiking down hard kills for the Blue Hawks.

But on Saturday afternoon against Dakota State, Franklin got a little fired up -- and Dickinson State reaped the benefits.

Franklin had a team-high 11 total blocks -- two solo -- and six kills to help the Blue Hawks close out a 25-16, 25-14, 25-12 Dakota Athletic Conference victory over the Trojans.

"They say I'm not so upbeat, so I just felt like I needed to go hard," Franklin said.

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So she did, smacking three kills and five blocks in the final game to close out Dakota State.

"She could be an All-American if she put her mind to it," Dickinson State head coach Ryan Platt said. "She's starting to show it. Her blocks have just been jumping through the roof. Her hitting percentage is astronomical."

It's right up there with the Blue Hawks' conference win percentage too.

After a slow start to the season a 3-0 loss at Jamestown College on Sept. 17 to open its DAC schedule, Dickinson State has won five matches in a row -- four of them in sweeps -- to improve to 11-12 overall and 5-1 in the DAC.

The Blue Hawks only seem to be getting better and better too.

Platt said he saw a team that was much improved from Friday night's match against Mayville State.

"Last night was kind of a help to us, I think," Platt said.

The Blue Hawks' front line continued to dominate their opponents too.

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Ruth Johnson led the team with seven kills while Courtnie Trustem added six and Iva Cepic had five.

"Any one of our frontcourt players could lead us in kills and hitting percentage on any given night, so it's kind of nice that way," Platt said. "Teams aren't concentrating on just one player."

It didn't hurt that Dakota State (7-15, 1-5 DAC) had trouble even getting the ball over the net.

The Trojans served five balls into the net in Game 1 and, despite a few flashes of brilliance to keep the Blue Hawks off balance, had numerous errors.

"Nothing worked," Dakota State coach Amy Veenhof said. "Nothing, nothing, nothing worked at all today for us."

Franklin helped limit Trojans senior middle hitter Ashley Schulte too. Schulte was named the DAC's hitter of the week on Monday, but was limited to four kills against the Blue Hawks.

"She (Franklin) wanted her pretty bad," Platt said. "She shut her down pretty well."

The Blue Hawks try to keep their win streak alive when it visits rival Minot State next Wednesday. A rematch with Jamestown at home looms on Saturday, Oct. 16.

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"We just work hard," Franklin said. "We're pushing."

Dakota 16 14 12 -- 0

Dickinson 25 25 25 -- 3

Kills: Dakota, Mandy Baxa 5, Margie Anthony 5, Ashley Schulte 4, Stephanie Kruggel 3, Mandy Frogner 2, Amy Pheneger 2. Dickinson, Ruth Johnson 7, Courtnie Trustem 6, Crystal Franklin 6, Iva Cepic 5, Jennifer Hartman 3, Karen Almeida 2, Whitley Abrahamson 1, Kristina Eric 1, Lindsay Meyer 1.

Blocks: Dakota, Baxa 3, Frogner 3, Schulte 2. Dickinson, Franklin 6.5, Cepic 2.5, Hartman 2, Johnson 1.5, Trustem 1, Almeida 1.

Aces: Dakota, Mollie Merrian 3, Katie Green 1, Mandi Atkins 1. Dickinson, Rebecca Johnson 2, Abrahamson 2, Eric 1.

Digs: Dakota, Green 7, Atkins 6, Merrian 6. Dickinson, Re. Johnson 14, Katelyn Christianson 7, Brittney Keele 7, Eric 7, Almeida 6, Abrahamson 5.

Assists: Dakota, Merrian 15. Dickinson, Eric 12, Re. Johnson 12.

Records: Dickinson State 11-12, 5-1 DAC; Dakota State 7-15, 1-5 DAC.

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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