Titans triumph in season opener with 3-0 win against Richardton-Taylor

Aug. 30—DICKINSON — Regular-season and home-openers can generate a little nerviness in athletes, and that was true in the early stages of Trinity High School's 3-0 straight-set win over Richardton-Taylor on Tuesday, Aug. 29, as the teams kicked things off by trading single points for the first 10-12 points or so before setting down in the second and third sets.

The Titans (1-0) emerged triumphant in identical scores of 25-17, 25-17, 25-17, and the middle stages of the series saw them pull away as the team settled in and showed their mettle in the first game after winning the Coal Country Tournament in Hazen over the weekend in similar fashion.

"I think we started off with maybe some nerves, just being the first home game of the season and first regular-season game, and I think our serve/receive was a little shaky at times and that's something we really pride ourselves on," Trinity head coach Breanna Sisson said. "But it started to clean up as we started to get more comfortable and things started to flow a little bit smoother and started cleaning up some of those errors."

Richardton-Taylor had their moments, however, and scoring 17 points in a three-game series with Trinity is no mean feat, said Raiders head coach Chelsie Evans.

"Trinity's a really good team and it's the first game of the season. I just think that our consistency with energy and our mental state was kind of a roller-coaster throughout the whole game," Evans said. "We have a lot to work on and this is just a learning experience for us."

Senior, multi-sport standout Ava Jahner was responsible for 15 kills in the series and dug out 6 more shots in that category on defense, while fellow senior Olivia Kessel pounded another 9 kills and Delaney Deschamp set up a remarkable 32 assists over the course of the evening.

In set one, junior Bella Kovash — who tallied a total of 6 aces from the service line and 4 kills in the three-sets — was responsible for service on 11 of the team's points, including 3-consecutive in the opening minutes and 8-consecutive in the middle of the matchup, while senior Serenity Pavlicek helped close out the first game with 4-consecutive points as THS closed in on their first 25-17 win.

The Raiders, for their part, spread the scoring around in the first game senior Eastyn Gebhardt and her classmate Neveah Baranko notched 4 service-points apiece.

In set two, Deschamp was on a tear and racked up 11 of the team's service-point scores, including 8-consecutive in the middle of the contest. Kovash — who had 7 digs on the defensive side of the net — again was a significant contributor, as was Jahner. For the Raiders, Jenna Schutt contributed to 6 of the team's service-point scores.

Set three saw the Titans settle in and go on a few 5-1 rallies as the game turned into a total-team effort. The team won 4 or more points on services from multiple players and closed out the third 25-17 win in style. The Raiders (0-1), for their part, held up well and rallied late in the game, but the Titans were able to outlast them for the win to go 1-0 on the regular-season.

"Trinity's like second in the state or something right now, and for us to even get 17 points each game is good; honestly, we're a small-town team and I was pretty proud of them," Evans added.

Next up for Trinity will be another Class B, Region-7 home matchup against Mott-Regent on Thursday, Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m. Richardton-Taylor, meanwhile, will be squaring off with Wilton-Wing at home on the same night at the same time.

"We really just tell our hitters just to swing big at the net and that kind of puts a stop on the other team's defense and if we can be more aggressive at the net we hopefully can pull them out of their system and then they're not sending aggressive balls at us," Sisson said.

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