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Titans open region tournament with sweep of Bearcats

Dickinson Trinity began the Region 7 Volleyball Tournament in the same dominating fashion it ended the regular season. Against No. 8-seeded Glen Ullin-Hebron, the top-seeded Titans turned in a quick and efficient sweep by set scores of 25-10, 25-...

Dickinson Trinity sophomore Masy Kuntz, right, is challenged at the net by Glen Ullin-Hebron sophomore Kristin Schaaf during the quarterfinals of the Region 7 Volleyball Tournament on Monday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson Trinity sophomore Masy Kuntz, right, is challenged at the net by Glen Ullin-Hebron sophomore Kristin Schaaf during the quarterfinals of the Region 7 Volleyball Tournament on Monday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson Trinity began the Region 7 Volleyball Tournament in the same dominating fashion it ended the regular season.

Against No. 8-seeded Glen Ullin-Hebron, the top-seeded Titans turned in a quick and efficient sweep by set scores of 25-10, 25-15, 25-18 in the tournament quarterfinals on Monday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"We talked about being calm and not letting the nerves get to you," Titans head coach Breanna Messer said.

With the win, Trinity - which went undefeated against region opponents during the regular season - advances to the semifinals at 5 p.m. today against Heart River.

The Titans were firing from the start, opening a 9-1 lead in the first set and expanding it to 23-6 at its highest point.

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A quick run buoyed Trinity in the second set as well, creating a 6-1 advantage in the opening moments. The lead swelled to as many as 12 before the Titans earned the 10-point victory.

"It's always good to get out to a lead right away so you can play a little more relaxed," Messer said. "Getting out to an aggressive start definitely helps throughout the match."

The Bearcats struggled to get any real semblance of momentum on offense - sometimes being forced to send over free balls instead of true attacks.

Kennedy Zuroff led Glen Ullin-Hebron with 11 kills, but no other teammate had more than Kristin Schaaf's five.

Trinity featured a more balanced attack with Sarah Mayer's nine kills, seven each from Sarah Kerkman and Masy Kuntz and six from Lauren Stafford.

"We had to work around the other middle's block," Kuntz said. "Their middle Kiana (Schatz) is a really good blocker, so we had to work extra hard to get around her blocks."

The Bearcats were further hindered on offense by Trinity's strong play at the net. Stafford tallied four blocks, and Mayer and Kuntz each notched two.

Glen Ullin-Hebron had a better showing in the third set, narrowing another early deficit down to five, at 20-15, before bowing out.

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Lexi Gietzen supplied 16 assists for the Bearcats, and Leah Gerving collected 15 digs.

Kerkman led all players with four service aces, and Abby Jones gathered 18 digs for Trinity. Alexa Walby got everybody involved with 29 assists.

"We had confidence that we were going to play our best and work our hardest to win," Kuntz said. "It's important to get your first nerves out of the regional tournament. Everybody's nervous coming in, and after you win that first one, it gives you a boost of confidence and a want to go out and win more games."

Dickinson Trinity 3, Glen Ullin-Hebron 0

GUH 10 14 18 - 1

DT 25 25 25 - 3

Kills: GUH, Kennedy Zuroff 11, Kristin Schaaf 5, Leah Gerving 4, Lindsey Shirado 1, Kiana Schatz 1. DT, Sarah Mayer 9, Sarah Kerkman 7, Masy Kuntz 7, Lauren Stafford 6, Megan Krebs 2.

Blocks: GUH, Schatz 1, Gerving 1. DT, Stafford 4, Mayer 2, Kuntz 2.

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Aces: GUH, Lexi Gietzen 1, Brooklyn Geiss 1, Taizalee Glass 1. DT, Kerkman 4, Farrah Zeller 2, Kuntz 1.

Digs: GUH, Gerving 15, Schatz 12, Gietzen 9, Zuroff 8, Geiss 7. DT, Abby Jones 12, Kerkman 12, Abby Pavlicek 9, Zeller 7, Kuntz 5.

Assists: GUH, Gietzen 16, Glass 3, Cherish Olson 1, Schatz 1. DT, Alexa Walby 29.

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