Leading most of the way in the third set, it looked like the Dickinson State volleyball team was on its way to a 2-1 lead over Bellevue University.
A kill followed by a block from junior middle hitter Kadara Marshall gave the Blue Hawks their biggest lead of the frame, 19-13. The Bruins aren't ranked 22nd in the league for nothing, though, and they showed why.
North Star Athletic Association attacker of the week Shayla Scanlan put down a kill to tie the game at 23 before a block from Sienna Black gave Bellevue its first lead of the set, 24-23.
Flustered and surprised, the Blue Hawks dropped the set 25-23, ultimately falling 3-1 to the Bruins on Friday, Sept. 21, at Scott Gym.
"I thought in the first three sets we played really well. We played with confidence, we went at them, kind of controlled the game," Dickinson State head coach Jennifer Hartman said. "Bellevue is a really good team, obviously. They're traditionally really good. I think we just got a little surprised that we were playing with them."
The Bruins, now 11-4 overall and 2-0 in conference play, were led by Scanlan, just one of two seniors on the squad. The 6-foot-2 middle blocker had 10 kills and a team-high three blocks.
"We're a very young team, a lot of freshmen out there. (Dickinson) had a great crowd tonight that gave them just a little bit of an edge to have against them," Bellevue head coach Trish Siedlik said. "Getting loud, it got a little bit shaky there and not as confident in our play. A couple plays, we got back into it. Dickinson gave us a couple errors and that gave us that momentum."
After a 25-18 loss in the opening set, the Blue Hawks (2-11, 0-2 NSAA) gathered momentum in the second.
The teams kept pace until the set was tied at 17, at which point Dickinson State pulled ahead.
Bellevue hitting the ball out of bounds, combined with a kill from North and a pair of blocks put the Blue Hawks up 24-20. Bellevue put down one more point before Dickinson State earned the 25-21 win.
"We were just working as a team. We're great trusting each other," Wisher said. "We always push each other to be the best we can and in that set, we just pushed each other to do great things."
Led by North with 13 kills, Marshall with nine and Wisher with eight, the offense fell into system and kept at it, battering the Bruins blockers. In the middle, Marshall and Wisher were key players, also contributing five and three blocks, respectively.
"It was fun to watch them go up and swing big and trust their setters," Hartman said of her middles. "We just really clicked on offense. We've been working on offense and trying to get it to click more. It takes time, but we were right there."
With 26 blocks on the season, the 6-foot Wisher leads the team and is 10th in the league in blocks per set.
"She's one of those born leaders. She does a great job with bringing the energy," Hartman said. "You can always count on Alyssa to go up and swing hard at the ball."
The Bruins put the night away with their greatest margin of victory, 25-16.
Bellevue jumped out to a 4-1 advantage, drawing a Dickinson State timeout. Kills from Wisher gave the Blue Hawks their next two points, but when down 11-3, another timeout was called.
Still, they couldn't get back in the rhythm they were in earlier as freshmen Bruins attackers Sierra Athen and Rosa Reed-Bouley came down swinging.
"I think we weren't expecting them to come back as hard as they did, but we fought and we did the best we could," Wisher said.
Bellevue 3, Dickinson State 1
BU 25 21 25 25 - 3
DSU 18 25 23 16 - 1
Kills: BU, Sierra Athen 13, Shayla Scanlan 10 Rosa Reed-Bouley 9. DSU, Cassie North 13, Kadara Marshall 9, Alyssa Wisher 8, Sage Collins 4, Kylie Hadley 4, Ellie Hanser 3, Karli Clevland 1.
Blocks: BU, Scanlan 3, Coree Lipovsky 3. DSU, Marshall 5, Wisher 3, Hadley 2, Collins 1, Sydney Bentz 1.
Aces: BU, Fabiola Aviles 2, Lipovsky 1. DSU, Alli Hert 2, Mackenzie Digesualdo 1.
Digs: BU, Madi Evans 21, Olivia Galas 13, Athen 10. DSU, Jenna Swope 11, Digesualdo 11, Hert 8, Keera Stookey 6, Sarah Dobitz 6, Clevland 4, Hadley 3, Collins 3, North 2, Hanser 2, Wisher 1.
Assists: BU, Galas 44. DSU, Clevland 19, Stookey 18.
Records: BU, 11-4 (2-0 NSAA). DSU, 2-11 (0-2 NSAA).