Sep. 25—DICKINSON — It's a hyperbolic utterance, but it seems like a presidential administration has come-and-gone since the Trinity Titans last conceded a set, much-less a match. Regardless of the length of the current streak, the team registered another dominating performance over the weekend with a non-conference, 3-0 win over Minot's Bishop Ryan during the school's homecoming weekend festivities, taking the individual games by scores 25-16, 25-15 and 25-19 over a Lions team that came into the Knights of Columbus Activities Center with a better-than-average 10-6 record.
But once again the Titans sent a team packing with a thrilling series that was not only exciting to watch, but also contained an intensity that showed through in the abandon the team has begun to play with and excel at daily. Bishop Ryan (10-7) had their moments, but the overwhelming nature with which THS plays is intimidating even for the best of teams.
"We have a really friendly rivalry with Minot Ryan and it's always nice when we get to see them on our schedule; they play really well, defensively, and I think they push their hitters to find new spots on the court and they give themselves second-chances," Trinity head coach Breanna Sisson said. "So, those longer rallies — you're going to see that when you're playing a team with good defense — and that's what we wanted: We wanted the push, we wanted the pressure and that tested us with how we could handle high-stress situations."
The opening set was a master-class that began with a 12-3 run courtesy of solid service from senior-setter Delaney Deschamp with an opening 5 consecutive points. Senior middle-hitter Olivia Kessel followed that up with a few points of her own to post a massive, 17-6 lead the team never looked back from on the way to an initial 25-16 victory that was paced by a trio of kills each from senior outside-hitter Helena Pavek and her middle-hitting classmate Ava Jahner.
The dismantling continued in the second-set, where junior outside-hitter Bella Kovash helped serve-up the Titans to a 7-3 lead early on with a 4-point offering. But the Lions weren't going away quietly and managed to post a 9-9 tie at one point and quietly closed the gap. Almost in an instant, Jersey Erie set up at the line when it was her turn and blew the game wide open with an 11-point run of service that pushed Bishop Ryan back on their heels. Jahner was again responsible for 3 kills in the set, along with Kessel, while Trinity (12-0, 5-0) forced a series of unforced errors on the panicky Lions to create some distance towards the 25-15 win.
The Lions, meanwhile, had other designs on the third-and-final set, and after Deschamp helped the Titans post a quick 5-0 lead on her service, while Kovash racked-up 4 more for a 9-2 advantage. Bishop Ryan started trading body-blows with the home team and closed the gap to a 13-12 nailbiter in the middle stages of the set. The teams went back-and-forth from there and the game started to look like trouble as the long points brought the home-and-away fans to their feet.
Jahner came to the line and cut loose for a 3-point run and a 20-14 lead, but the Lions' pride continued to show and they kept matters close with a challenging series of points and a 22-17 deficit that looked like it could upset the balance-of-power. But Dickinson Trinity was not to be outdone and kept their composure en route to the 25-19 victory, one of the closest THS has played within recent memory.
"That third set, you could tell that the longer rallies from sets one and two were kind of wearing on both teams, but I think we stayed pretty locked-in and were trying to be disciplined where we could," Sisson said. "We had, maybe, a couple too many errors in the third set, but I think that was a result of just longer rallies through the match."
She added, "So, for us to still play aggressive through the third set was really nice to see."
Deschamp was again at her consistent best, setting up a remarkable 34 assists and contributing on the defensive side of the net with 6 digs while adding a pair of kills to her stat-sheet. The total-team-effort was again the rule and not the exception as Jahner, Pavek and Melissa Zach each tied for the team-lead with 9 kills apiece. Kovash had 6 of her own — to go along with Kessel's 5 — and dropped a pair of aces for good measure.
The team also managed to limit service-errors to only 6, such was the consistency of play, and total hitting errors for the series were limited to only 16 on the afternoon for Dickinson Trinity.
Next-up for Dickinson Trinity will be a trip to Beulah on Tuesday, Sept. 26, which will be followed by a weekend away at the Des Lacs-Burlington Invitational from Sept. 29-30.
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