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Titans defeat Night Hawks in battle of Region 7’s best

In a matchup of Region 7's top two teams, Dickinson Trinity came away a decisive victor over Hettinger-Scranton, but it was not a sweep absent of drama.

From left: Dickinson Trinity's Sarah Mayer, Masy Kuntz, Alexa Walby and Sarah Kerkman celebrate a point during the Titans' win against Hettinger-Scranton on Monday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
From left: Dickinson Trinity's Sarah Mayer, Masy Kuntz, Alexa Walby and Sarah Kerkman celebrate a point during the Titans' win against Hettinger-Scranton on Monday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

In a matchup of Region 7's top two teams, Dickinson Trinity came away a decisive victor over Hettinger-Scranton, but it was not a sweep absent of drama.

The Titans won by set scores of 25-11 and 25-16 in the first and third sets, respectively, but they were sandwiched around a 27-25 victory in a tense second game at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"Hettinger's a good team, and they definitely pushed us," Titans head coach Breanna Messer said. "It feels good to go 3-0. Hettinger put up a fight the entire match, and we were ready for them. But I know that if we meet up again, it might not be as easy of a game."

Messer's main reference point for that assertion is the second set.

The Night Hawks (11-7, 6-2 Region 7) opened the second set with a five-point run and led by as many as seven points, at 9-2. Seven of the next eight points went in Trinity's favor to pull the Titans back into the game.

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The set featured seven ties from that moment on, and Trinity (15-7, 8-0) finally went ahead for good at 26-25. The Titans then won the next point to take a commanding two-set lead.

"I think, if anything, we take a deep breath and get calm and we remember that we're all good hitters, we're all good passers and we can come back from anything no matter the score," said Trinity junior outside hitter Sarah Mayer. "It was good to see that even against tough teams, we can perform at a high level."

Mayer had 12 kills in Trinity's win, and senior Sarah Kerkman led all players with 14. Helping facilitate the offense was sophomore setter Alexa Walby, who tallied 37 assists.

"She runs our offense, mixes it up between the hitters," Messer said. "She knows who to get it to and how to place the ball for them. She's consistent every time and does a nice job communicating for the team."

Trinity senior libero Abby Jones collected 22 digs, and sophomore Farrah Zeller led all players with three service aces.

The Night Hawks had an early 2-1 lead in the third set, but Trinity won the next four points and never trailed again.

"We're a little disappointed we didn't show up a bit better, but we're planning to meet them a second time," Hettinger-Scranton head coach Ria Eaton said. "This lets us know what we're up against. We know what we have to work on, and we'll go from there."

Sophomore Abbie Kludt led the Night Hawks with six kills, and Molly Holt and Brianna Robinson each chipped in with five.

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Trinity remained undefeated in Region 7 play, and the Titans registered their fourth sweep of a region opponent in the process. Faced with the second-set scare, Messer was pleased that her team was able to battle through it.

"I don't like taking timeouts early in the game just because we still have that chance to build up a little bit," she said. "Coming back from being down early, it shows that we still have that mentality, still ready to fight. I'm really proud of the girls to stick with it."

Dickinson Trinity 3, Hettinger-Scranton 0

HS 11 25 16 - 0

DT 25 27 25 - 3

Kills: HS, Abbie Kludt 6, Molly Holt 5, Brianna Robinson 5, Sam Reuther 2, Tayler Burwick 2, Alyssa Andress 1. DT, Sarah Kerkman 14, Sarah Mayer 12, Lauren Stafford 6, Masy Kuntz 5, Megan Krebs 2.

Blocks: HS, Andress 2, Holt 2, Reuther 1, Robinson 1. DT, Stafford 3, Kuntz 1.

Aces: DT, Farrah Zeller 3, Kerkman 2, Abby Pavlicek 1, Alexa Walby 1.

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Digs: HS, Andress 9, Callie Anderson 7, Holt 6, Burwick 3, Kludt 3, Madi Warbis 2, Reuther 1, Briana Sanford 1. DT, Abby Jones 22, Walby 11, Kerkman 11, Zeller 7, Pavlicek 6, Kuntz 2, Mayer 2.

Assists: HS, Burwick 7, Anderson 7. DT, Walby 37, Jones 1.

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