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Stanton Strong night ends in wild win for Dickinson State volleyball

Down 22-17 to Briercrest College (Canada) in the third set, the Dickinson State volleyball team forged a comeback. Kills from sophomore Alyssa Wisher and senior outside hitter Kylie Hadley helped tie the game at 24. The teams exchanged points for...

Dickinson State senior Kylie Hadley serves during a contest against Briercrest College on Friday, Sept. 14, at Scott Gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State senior Kylie Hadley serves during a contest against Briercrest College on Friday, Sept. 14, at Scott Gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

Down 22-17 to Briercrest College (Canada) in the third set, the Dickinson State volleyball team forged a comeback.

Kills from sophomore Alyssa Wisher and senior outside hitter Kylie Hadley helped tie the game at 24. The teams exchanged points for 10 more volleys, but an out of bounds hit from the Clippers put the Blue Hawks up 30-29.

With the crowd roaring, Hadley leapt up on the left side, connected with the ball and sent Scott Gymnasium into pandemonium as she landed the set-ending kill.

The Blue Hawks took the set 31-29 to take a 2-1 lead, going on to earn their first home win 3-2 over Briercrest on Friday, Sept. 14.

"We played them in preseason and we went to a third set and we were (at) 26-27 and we got beat that set," Hadley recalled. "So this set, we came in like, this is not happening again. We're not coming this far and fighting this hard to drop it at the end. That was a little extra motivation. And we had our crowd and our crowd was amazing tonight."

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Hadley led the Blue Hawks offense with 10 kills, followed by junior Kadara Marshall with nine and Wisher and junior Ellie Hanser with seven each. Blocks earned more than a handful of points for the Blue Hawks as well, with Marshall leading the way with five, followed by Wisher who added four.

Even after two consecutive blocks went out of bounds, the front wasn't discouraged in the least.

"I finally saw them letting go of mistakes," Dickinson State head coach Jennifer Hartman said. "That was exciting because sometimes we hold on to those mistakes so tight and they mess up on a kill and they go swinging again."

The Clippers responded in the fourth set, mounting a 16-5 lead. Dickinson State climbed back in with a 7-1 run to bring it to 21-16, but Briercrest College won 25-20, forcing a fifth set.

In set five, the Clippers built a 4-0 advantage, but only earned three more points throughout the remainder of the night as the Blue Hawks went on to win the set 15-7.

"We are very good at keeping each other up and we're young so when we look at each other it's easy to be like, 'oh we're fine. It's just one ball,'" Hadley said. "So when we were down by (11) in the fourth, we were like, 'It's fine. We've been down by worse than that, so we'll come back.' We just always have a confidence in each other."

In the sets they scored first, the Blue Hawks (2-9, 0-1 NSAA) won. In the second set, they scored the first two points, going on to win 25-19.

"You always try to win the first point. I think it sets the tone of the match for sure," Hartman said. "Earlier this season, we kind of felt teams out instead of taking control and playing our game right away. We've tried to work really hard in practice at starting out strong and playing our tempo right away and not playing to other team's levels."

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Briercrest had some heavy hitters, especially in Rebecca Garner, who led all players with 17 kills.

When she came in swinging, though, freshman Jenna Swope was in the Blue Hawks back row for the dig. She got her hands on some impressive hits, keeping the ball in play for her offense. Swope, along with senior Keera Stookey put up a team-high 14 digs.

"She even said last year (as a red shirt), 'Coach, we didn't learn a lot of defense. This is all new,'" Hartman said. "She worked so hard all season and all spring ball and she's just really come on fire lately and really bought in on how to play defense. We're really proud of her."

On Friday, dubbed 'Stanton Strong' night, the team and crowd took a few moments to honor the late Dan Stanton, who attended competed for Dickinson State in the late 80's and early 90's. He passed away in 2015 after battling brain cancer.

"We really believe that Coach Stanton had a big part of this win," Hartman said of the long-term Miles City (Mont.) coach. "It was really nice to be able to win it for him."

Dickinson State 3, Briercrest College 2

BC 25 19 29 25 7 - 2

DSU 18 25 31 20 15 - 3

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Kills: BC, Rebecca Garner 17, Justine Collin 9, Elicia Wiebe 9. DSU, Kylie Hadley 10, Kadara Marshall 9, Alyssa Wisher 7, Ellie Hanser 7, Sydney Bentz 5, Cassie North 2, Sage Collins 2, Keera Stookey 1.

Blocks: BC, Taylor Mitchell 3, Ashley Erickson 2. DSU, Marshall 5, Wisher 4, Hadley 2, Hanser 2, Collins 1.

Aces: BC, Collin 3, Garner 2. DSU, Jenna Swope 3, Makenzie Digesualdo 2, Hadley 2, Karlie Clevland 1, Stookey 1.

Digs: BC, Garner 20, Collin 16, Erickson 10. DSU, Swope 14, Bentz 14, Clevland 8, Hadley 8, Stookey 7, Sarah Dobitz 6, Alli Hert 5, Collins 3, Marshall 2, North 1, Wisher 1, Hanser 1.

Assists: BC, Erickson 42. DSU, Stookey 18, Clevland 16.

Records: DSU, 2-9, 0-2 NSAA.

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