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Valley City State sweeps Blue Hawks, remains ahead in North Star

Needing a win to break a tie for fourth place in the conference standings, Dickinson State and Valley City State both entered with a sense of urgency.

Dickinson State senior Brenna Hansen, right, is challenged at the net by Valley City State defenders Nicolette Bloomer (14) and Leah Ruter on Friday at Scott Gymnasium. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State senior Brenna Hansen, right, is challenged at the net by Valley City State defenders Nicolette Bloomer (14) and Leah Ruter on Friday at Scott Gymnasium. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

Needing a win to break a tie for fourth place in the conference standings, Dickinson State and Valley City State both entered with a sense of urgency.

The Vikings, however, paired that mindset with execution on Friday evening, holding the Blue Hawks to a .078 hitting percentage while sweeping the three sets at Scott Gymnasium.

Valley City State won by set scores of 25-14, 25-21, 25-17 to improve to 7-8 in North Star Athletic Association play. The Blue Hawks drop to 6-9 with one match remaining, at 2 p.m. today at home against Mayville State.

"Every game is vital, but this (loss) definitely raised the bar a little bit," Blue Hawks head coach Jen Hartman said of today's match. "Hopefully we show up a little better than we did tonight."

The Vikings, (11-20 overall) opened the first set at a blistering pace, going ahead 9-2 to force a DSU timeout. VCSU kept the pace, though, and cruised to a win in the opener.

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Dickinson State battled in the second set, posting its best hitting percentage of the three sets (.208), but it wasn't enough.

The teams traded barbs in the early going, but Dickinson State (11-19 overall) lost the lead for good at 10-9. The Blue Hawks managed to tie it at 15, but that's as close as they would get.

"That first one, we just got down too far. We weren't mentally ready like we needed to be," senior middle hitter Tessa Sian said. "But in that second set we had that fire, and we were ready to go and focused in a little more, as compared to the other ones."
In the third set, the Blue Hawks reverted back to their first-set ways, hitting -.097 with just three kills and six attack errors. For the evening as a whole, DSU had 29 kills but 20 errors.

"We're going to sleep this off. Valley's a great team, and they ran a lot of really good things on offense," said Sian, who tallied a team-high 10 kills. "They kind of changed up from the last time that we played them, and we just didn't adjust like we needed to."

Taylor Sharp and Megan Johnson each posted 12 kills for Valley City State, which hit .217 as a team. The Vikings also notched six service aces.

Freshman Ellie Hanser had seven kills for DSU, and junior Shelby Gustafson supplied five kills with five blocks.

Danielle Boyette was held in check as an attacker, registering just one kill, but she added 17 assists and nine digs.

DSU will look to bounce back against the Comets, against whom the Blue Hawks won in four sets on Oct. 7 in Mayville.

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"Mayville has a really great right side, and their setter is a big threat, so if we can shut down that combination, we should be sitting OK," Sian said. "But as much as we want to watch film or focus on what they're doing, we really have to pick it up on our side. That's the No. 1 thing."

Valley City State 3, Dickinson State 0

VCSU 25 25 25 - 3

DSU 14 21 17 - 0

Kills: VCSU, Megan Johnson 12, Taylor Sharp 12, Clarissa Olson 7, Leah Ruter 5, Nicolette Bloomer 3, Taylor Balkan 1, Hailie Wilds 1. DSU, Tessa Sian 10, Ellie Hanser 7, Shelby Gustafson 5, Brenna Hansen 4, Sydney Bentz 2, Danielle Boyette 1.

Blocks: VCSU, Bloomer 3, Johnson 2, Ruter 1. DSU, Gustafson 5, Hansen 3, Sian 1, Boyette 1.

Aces: VCSU, Ruter 2, Darrien Cantelo 2, Balkan 1, Charlotte Huschka 1.

Digs: VCSU, Balkan 13, Huschka 12, Wilds 9. DSU, Keera Stookey 15, Shaylee Singleton 13, Kaitlyn Anderson 10, Hansen 9.

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Assists: VCSU, Balkan 32. DSU, Boyette 17, Stookey 7, Hansen 1, Sian 1, Magdalyn Rauser 1.

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