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Inconsistent home debut: Midgets can’t keep offense firing in loss to Saints

Dickinson High junior Madison Lindley goes up for an attack in a WDA matchup against Bismarck St. Mary's on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the DHS gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)1 / 3
Dickinson High ninth grade outside hitter Taya Hopfauf aims for the oncoming ball in a WDA match against Bismarck St. Mary's on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the DHS gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)2 / 3
Bismarck St. Mary's junior Maddie Grad keeps the ball in play against Dickinson High on Thursday, Aug. 30, at DHS gym. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)3 / 3

Down 24-16 in the second set, it looked like the Dickinson High volleyball team would go down on the next serve. The Midgets refused to go down easily, adding four more points on kills from juniors Taylor Nelson and Peyton Selle, as well as a Saints net violation before Saint Mary's put it away 25-20.

The run was the highlight of Dickinson's home opener, which the Midgets lost in three straight sets on Thursday, Aug. 30 at the DHS gym.

"The first set we ended sort of good so our adrenaline was just kicking in, so then we got to the second set and were like, 'OK, let's go,'" junior middle hitter Madison Lindley said. "We started getting towards the end and we know we should have won, but didn't get to it right away. The third set ... we kept making error after error and we just couldn't get back to it."

Going into the night, both the Midgets and the Saints were 0-1 in WDA play, and set number one started even.

With the game tied at eight, St. Mary's began to break away, taking a 15-10 lead. From there, the Midgets kept pace, but eventually fell 25-18.

Still, they gained momentum and carried it into the next set.

After the close call in the middle match, St. Mary's (4-5, 1-1 WDA) didn't take any chances in the final, breaking away from a 4-4 game with a four-point run. Dickinson stayed within four until the Saints held a 15-11 advantage. From there, the girls in blue scored five consecutive points before winning 25-13.

"The big one, when we looked at it, St. Mary's sided out exceptionally well," Dickinson head coach Jay Schobinger said. "We did not have near enough service points. After we visited with them, some of the kids aren't doing what we're asking them to do, so they need to get focused in on what we need them to do."

Just as Schobinger preached last season, the team lacked consistency, especially on offense which stemmed largely from the absence of senior setter Lauren Jorda. In her place, sophomore Paige Balliet and senior Madison Eckelberg stepped up, earning seven and six assists, respectively.

Selle led the Midgets (1-8, 0-2 WDA) with 12 digs. She also paced the team with seven kills, followed by Lindley with five and Nelson with three. Lindley spent her night primarily in the middle, with Nelson beside her, new roles for both the hitters.

"They kind of flip-flopped. Lindley was more of a right-side (hitter) last year with Taylor hitting more middle," Schobinger said. "We're kind of experimenting with that little switch."

St. Mary's junior Maria Mann ended the evening with an impressive kill from the middle, capping off a solid night.

"She's still getting used to being one of the main middles," St. Mary's head coach Kyle Kuether said. "This is the first year she's had to step into that role. She's doing an awesome job. I think, by the end of the year she's going a lot better than she is, so seeing her getting better ... and getting more confidence is the biggest thing right now."

Despite the loss, the Midgets were in good spirits, helped strongly by an enthusiastic student section donning jersey's of their choice.

"I think the excitement of the crowd and how big our student section was tonight and how good we were, I think that helped out a lot," Lindley said.

Bismarck St. Mary's 3, Dickinson High 0

BSM 25 25 25 — 3

DHS 11 20 13 — 0

Kills: D, Peyton Selle 7, Madi Lindley 5, Taylor Nelson 3.

Blocks: D, Nelson 2, Taya Hopfauf 1, Audrey Rodakowski 1, Selle 1.

Digs: D, Selle 12, Kendryn Bullinger 10, Eckelberg 5.

Assists: D, Paige Balliet 7, Madi Eckelberg 6.

Records: D, 1-8 (0-2 WDA). BSM, 4-5 (1-1 WDA).

St. Mary's stats were not available.