Dickinson, ND – The Blue Hawks could not fight off the Hardrockers, as they were defeated 3-1. The Blue Hawks took the first set 25-20, before losing the next three sets with scores of: 17-25, 19-25, 10-25. Dickinson State is now 4-24 on the season.
The Hardrockers had three players with 10 or more kills, including the team high of 16 from Samantha Johnson. Janelle Strampe was second on the team with 14 kills and Kirsten Johnson chipped in 10. Three Mines' players had 13 digs, but the team leader was Mikkella Reese who tallied 17. Hardrockers setter Carsyn Garcia had 46 assists on the evening. Overall, the Hardrockers tallied 49 assists, 74 digs, and 11 total blocks.
Dickinson State was led by senior Melissa Avila who had 10 kills. Freshman Aly Schieno had eight of her own, with senior Linaya Schroeder racking up four. Senior Kelly O'Connor had 22 assists, the team high, as well as 23 digs, also the high. The Blue Hawks finished with 32 kills, 24 assists, 80 digs, and nine total blocks.
As it was senior night Kelly O'Connor, Melissa Avila, and Linaya Schroeder were honored before the match.
In two years with the Blue Hawks after transferring from University of Great Falls, O'Connor has tallied: 190 kills, 802 assists, 36 aces, 484 digs, and 65 total blocks. Coach Jon Stenman had this to say about his setter:
"Kelly is everything a coach could want in a player. Not only does she have the talent and intelligence to play any position; she has a drive like few have. Kelly never gives less than 100% and her emotions feed into other players. Kelly has worked tirelessly to improve herself and her game. Her hard work paid off as she increased in every major statistical category from her junior to senior year. She is a leader and role model to the younger players both on and off the court."
Melissa Avila joined the Blue Hawks from Gavelin College. In two years she has totaled: 551 kills, 399 assists, 48 aces, 539 digs, and 50 total blocks. Coming into tonight's match, Melissa ranked #3 in the Frontier Conference and #22 in the Nation with an average of 3.9 kills per set. Coach Stenman had this to say about his leading offensive player:
"Melissa has one of the strongest arms that I have ever coached. She transfers so much power into the ball that she is able to be a successful hitter at only 5'8. She has really shown her versatility and growth as a hitter this year. She has increased her kills per set average by nearly two kills even though every team schemes to stop her. Melissa has played in every set this year and consistently fires the team up with big hits; sometimes swinging up to 75 times per match. She has really embraced the role of go to hitter and has exceeded my expectations as a hitter and all-around player."
After joining Dickinson State from Vernon College, Linaya Schroeder played two years in a Blue Hawks uniform. In those two years she has amassed a total of 1340 kills, 17 assists, 96 digs, and 22 total blocks. Coach Stenman had this to say about the Chamberlin, Saskatchewan native:
"Linaya has been a fun player to coach this season. Not only is she almost always in a great mood, she has to versatility and ability to play multiple positions. Over the course of this year, I have been able to successfully use Linaya in all three front row positions. Every time she was placed in a new situation, she would go out and do what needs to be done in that given position. Linaya has increased her hitting percentage over 110 points from her junior year to senior year and always seems to come through with a big kill once a set."
Dickinson State will play their final matches on the road. Their next match will be against Montana State-Northern on November 7. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.