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Keeping control: Trinity wins battle against Cougars

After going up two sets, the Dickinson Trinity volleyball team didn't look like itself in the third set of their Region 7 matchup with Heart River. The Cougars offense fired away on the Titans, going on an eight-point run to take a 15-9 lead, eve...

Dickinson Trinity junior Masy Kuntz led the Titans with 15 kills against Heart River on Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson Trinity junior Masy Kuntz led the Titans with 15 kills against Heart River on Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

After going up two sets, the Dickinson Trinity volleyball team didn't look like itself in the third set of their Region 7 matchup with Heart River. The Cougars offense fired away on the Titans, going on an eight-point run to take a 15-9 lead, eventually downing Dickinson Trinity 25-15.

The Titans got the game back into their own hands though, and won the final set 25-17, earning the 3-1 win on Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"I thought we came out aggressive and definitely had a good start," Trinity head coach Breanna Messer said. "I think we got a bit caught up. When you have a 2-0 lead, sometimes you let up in that third set and you can't do that."

The first two sets were close ones too.

In the opener, the Titans slowly built a lead, then went on a six-point run to go up 17-9. The Cougars tallied seven more points, but the Titans took the first win 25-16.

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Heart River didn't allow such a lead to build in the second set. After falling six points behind, the Cougars earned five in a row, bringing the score to 22-21. The Titans prevailed 25-23 but the Cougars brought their momentum into the third set where they collected their one victory of the night.

"Their offense really started taking control of our game," Trinity junior Masy Kuntz said. "Our defense just couldn't keep up with it. ... When your defense is off, it's hard to get your offense going."

Kuntz had a team-leading 15 kills, followed by senior Sarah Mayer who had 13. Kuntz also contributed one block, one ace and six digs.

"She is always aggressive at the net," Messer said. "I think she's kind of a spark plug in the middle. She definitely shows her presence every single game. When she starts putting the ball down is when we get on a roll."

Heart River senior Ashlyn Privratsky led the Cougars with 20 kills, followed by Laken Jacobson and Natasha Baranko who added five each.

"We just kept pushing at them," Heart River head coach Laura Steffan said. "I said, 'Do not let up. We need to keep pushing.' And we never let up and I'm really proud of them for that."

Steffan said she was not only impressed with Privratsky, but also Baranko. The junior led the Cougars with three blocks and was a big presence at the net.

The Titans got their feet back under them in the fourth set.

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"We knew their hitters would find their voice eventually," Messer said. "We adjusted some of our blockers pulling our right side over to help block. We just wanted to make sure we were controlling their hitters and hopefully get a couple stops, put up an intimidating block. They did a nice job of powering through our blocks."

Mayer led the Titans with two blocks. Senior Megan Krebs and freshman Amaya Willer contributed one each.

"I give them complete credit. They definitely pushed us," Messer said. "I hope we pushed them as well. I think we both got better tonight."

Dickinson Trinity

T 25 25 15 25 - 3

HR 16 23 25 17 - 1

Kills: T, Masy Kuntz 15, Sarah Mayer 13, Bre Tessier 10, Amaya Willer 9, Megan Krebs 3. HR, Ashlyn Privratsky 20, Laken Jacobson 5, Natasha Baranko 5.

Blocks: T, Mayer 2, Kuntz 1, Krebs 1, Willer 1. HR, Baranko 3, Privratsky 1.

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Aces: T, Alexa Walby 1, Kuntz 1. HR, Olson 2, Afton Shypkoski 1, Bayli Krance 1.

Digs: T, Walby 17, Amber Sickler 13, Farrah Zeller 9, Bailey Jahner 8, Kuntz 6, Krebs 4, Mayer 2, Tessier 2. HR, Olson 22, Krance 22, Jacobson 16.

Assists: T, Walby 45, Krebs 4. HR, Bailey Olson 23, Bailey Boltz 6.

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