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Midgets volleyball starts play in West Region tourney against Legacy

The past week has been about self evaluation for the Dickinson High volleyball team. The Midgets begin play in the West Region tournament Thursday in Minot, and since their play-in victory over Turtle Mountain last week, the team has put a high p...

Dickinson High senior Paige Schweitzer serves the ball Sept. 27 against Bismarck St. Mary's at DHS gymnasium. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High senior Paige Schweitzer serves the ball Sept. 27 against Bismarck St. Mary's at DHS gymnasium. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

The past week has been about self evaluation for the Dickinson High volleyball team.

The Midgets begin play in the West Region tournament Thursday in Minot, and since their play-in victory over Turtle Mountain last week, the team has put a high priority on the fundamentals and how to best play its own game.

"A lot of what we've been talking about is who we need to get the ball to offensively," head coach Jay Schobinger said. "We've been stressing that to our setters. We're looking to do some things defensively to go in with a game plan, and the kids are responding very well. Bottom line: we're going to have to control the ball, and if we do that, we'll give ourselves an opportunity to win. If we struggle there, it could be a long weekend."

Dickinson enters as the No. 7 seed and will face second-seeded Bismarck Legacy in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Central Time.

The Midgets lost both meetings with the Sabers this season via sweeps.

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"We know a little about them, and they know a little about us. We think we know what their hitters are going to try to do," Schobinger said. "For example, (Dickinson's) Mariah Mortensen is leading the conference in blocks, so we know they're going to try to avoid hitting the ball wherever she's at. We have to be smart to play around that and be in a good defensive position."

With the tournament being double-elimination, Dickinson is guaranteed a match on Friday against either Jamestown or Mandan. For the sake of simplicity, Schobinger doesn't want his team looking that far ahead, though.

"The kids take care of the first one first. We as coaches have looked at the other two," he said. "We don't want them to over-analyze too many things."

Dickinson entered last season's West Region tournament as the eighth seed and wound up playing on the final day.

This year's group has been through that gauntlet, Schobinger said. He expects his group of six seniors - Aspen Galster, Katie Riely, Sarah Dobitz, Sadi Dvorak, Jayde Lawlar and Paige Schweitzer - and the team's handful of juniors and sophomores to have learned from last year's experience.

"Nobody expected us to play on Saturday (last year). This group has been there," Schobinger said. "I don't think they'll be shellshocked. I think they'll be ready to go."

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