Tonight's home volleyball match for Dickinson Midgets against St. Mary's Saints wouldn't catapult either team to the top of the WDA standings, but was a chance for the two to differentiate from one another as the season progressed.

Dickinson went into the match on a two game winning streak, but was cut short after losing to St. Mary’s 3-1. It was a well matched battle between the two with strong players on both sides.

The first set was a close battle ending 25-23 favoring the Saints. It was tied at 17 before the Saints would go on a six point run. Though the first set was a loss, senior setter Staci Kempenich expressed the Midgets’ versatility even with a young offense.

“Tonight we had a lot of ups and we had a lot of downs,” Kempenich said. “Our energy was good for the most part, we just need to keep it up the whole time because it will really help us to finish strong.”

Senior Staci Kempenich and sphomore Jazmin Barry do their best to stop St. Mary's sophomore outside hitter Lexi Gerving attack. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
Senior Staci Kempenich and sphomore Jazmin Barry do their best to stop St. Mary's sophomore outside hitter Lexi Gerving attack. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

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Head coach for the Midgets Jay Schobinger praised the younger players navigating through varsity play and Kempenich and her leadership contributions of 27 assists and 12 digs.

“We gave away a couple of four or five point runs and we missed some serves at some opportune times … Right now because of injuries, we are having some young kids having to step up and they are having to grow up really fast,” Schobinger said. “Early on Staci saved us, quite often; Some tight balls went up and she did some really nice things with it. She had a really good night.”

The second set was in the bag for Dickinson despite a weak start of 3-0. They would tie it up at 12 and then take it 25-19. The third and fourth sets were controlled primarily by St. Mary’s, taking them 25-15 and 25-19. Both ended with a decisive kill from their sophomore outside hitter Lexi Gerving.

The Midgets celebrate after taking the second set 25 - 19. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
The Midgets celebrate after taking the second set 25 - 19. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

“We had two very evenly matched teams and they took advantage and went on some runs and we didn't,” said schobinger.

Both sides have powerful players, some that lead the WDA leaderboards. Midgets’ junior outhitter Caton Pearcy leads in kills with 159, while Saints’ junior middle hitter Mykendra Messer’s leads in blocks with 28.

“Our defense is really good, they are everywhere back there and our offense is starting to catch up. Now that we have Jazmin blocking up front, it is helpful for our defense,” Kempenich said. “Caton is dominating out there, she is doing so well and I am so proud of her.”

Caton Pearcy spike the ball between the St. Mary's blockers to add another kill to her tally. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
Caton Pearcy spike the ball between the St. Mary's blockers to add another kill to her tally. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Pearcy added to her lead with 17 kills, while also obtaining 2 aces and 11 digs. Dickinson’s seniors led the way in the defense in terms of digs. Libero Reese Hauck had 32, hitter Taya Hopfauf tallied 20 and defensive specialist Mckenna Eckelberg accumulated 19. Sophomore Jazmin Barry tied Kempenich in blocks with three.

Jazmin Barry continues to improve, joining the varsity squad half way into the season. She accumulated four kills and three blocks against the Saints. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
Jazmin Barry continues to improve, joining the varsity squad half way into the season. She accumulated four kills and three blocks against the Saints. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

With this match in the record books, the Saints are now fifth in the WDA. The Midgets remain towards the middle of the standings at 6-9. Schobinger saids that he sees a lot of competitive teams this season and enjoys the battling mentality he has witnessed.

“It shows that there are a group of teams that are right in the middle that are very competitive with each other,” Schobinger said. “And that end of the year tournament is going to be pretty interesting.”