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Midgets fall to Sabers in five sets

Dickinson High School face Bismarck Legacy at home.

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Sabers' Reese Duchsherer serve as they try to find their way back after the Midgets take an early lead. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson found themselves in a tight battle Thursday night at home against Bismarck Legacy. The Sabers came into this matchup hot, winners of four in a row.

The Midgets held sizable leads throughout the game, but ultimately fell to the Sabers in five sets, 3-2.

Each set was settled by narrow margins as both teams found themselves climbing out from deficits to win a set.

The Midgets had an eight point lead at 22-14, but the Sabers came back to tie it up at 24. The two sides would battle for advantage until Legacy prevailed 28-26.

Head coach Jay Schobinger expressed how important a first set victory would have been if they were able to take it.

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“Two evenly matched teams and it came down to one ball here and one ball there,” Schobinger said. “ If we found a way to win set one, we may win that in three.”

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Senior Reese Hauck and Taya Hopfauf hold down Dickinson's back row. Between the two, obtained 57 digs. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson bounced back in set two, leading 18-10, before the Sabers would attempt a huge rally to tie it up 21-21. But the Midgets held strong as a kill from junior Caton Pearcy would seal the win 25-22.

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Outside hitter Caton Pearcy lead Dickinson in kills with 22 against Legacy. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

“We still need to work offensively, we know that. We keep talking about it and it's getting better. We just need to improve with our young hitters offensively,” Schobinger said. “We have to have more than Caton in the front row, and that is going to be a point of emphasis. She is getting a lot of swings, she is doing a great job, we just have to take some of the pressure off of that.”

Pearcy had 22 kills in the match and served an ace. Seniors Reese Hauck, Mckenna Eckelberg and Taya Hopfauf combined for 81 digs. Middle hitter Jazmin Barry led the way in blocks with four. Barry stepped out of junior varsity to replace the injured Jenna Decker, who's absence has been hard to move past.

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Jazmin Barry aids Staci Kempenich in a block. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

“I like being able to play varsity with the girls and it is a lot of fun, but it's a lot of pressure because Jenna Decker has left a big role to fill,” Barry said. “I had trouble getting my hits above the 10-foot line and blocking some of those girls because they are a big team, but it's nothing I can't do.”

Stamina of the Midgets experienced hitters continued to drain, playing in a deficit in set three until sophomore hitter Maeva Kuehl tied it up at 16. Dickinson took set three 25-22, but their reserves were completely depleted.

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Hitter Maeva Kuehl takes aim while suspended in air to deliver a spike. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Set four was controlled by Legacy who ran away with it 25-14, forcing a winner-takes-all fifth set.

Dickinson put up tremendous effort leading 11-8, but would watch it slip away from them as the Sabers came back and pulled away 15-13, taking home the victory.

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“Volleyball is a game of momentum and I would expect nothing more the next time we go play them that it will be very close,” Schobinger said. “On any given night, any team can win.”

TEAM STATS

Kills - Caton Pearcy, 22; Taya Hopfauf, 10; Jazmin Barry, 5; Maeva Kuehl, 4; Sadie Stevenson, 3; Staci Kempenich, 3

Digs - Reese Hauck, 32; Hopfauf, 25; Mckenna Eckelberg, 24; Caton Pearcy, 17; Staci Kempenich, 13; Kuehl, 4; Stevenson, 2

Assists - Kempenich, 37

Blocks - Barry, 4; Stevenson, 1; Kempenich, 1; Pearcy, 1; Kuehl, 1

Aces - Hopfauf, 3; Eckelberg, 3; Kempenich, 2; Hauck, 2; Pearcy, 1

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALLDICKINSON MIDGETS
Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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