Nov 1st, 2009 @ 8:41 am | Author: Ryan Cunningham (
Valley City--The thrill of tournament volleyball arrived on Halloween, and the Vikings got a treat.

Valley City State rallied from down a set to knock off Dickinson State 3-2 (25-21, 17-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-13) Saturday night at Grachien Gym in Valley City.

Playing what may be their final match at the facility, the Vikings used terrific defense by libero Amanda Smith (Sr., Burnsville, MN), and Kelsey Hanson (Jr., Willmar, MN) to extend rallies in the late sets, and a balanced offense capitalized.

The tightness of the conference standings was reflected in the open of the match. The teams traded side-out volleyball, with the key hitter for both teams dominating the action. No team led by more than two through the first 34 points, which led to a 17-17 tie.

The Vikings opened the first distance of the match behind a kill by Larson and an ace by Steph Kosman (Jr., St. Adolphe, MB), taking four straight for a 21-17 lead. The teams would trade again, with Larson finishing off the set on the second opportunity for a 25-21 Vikings win.

Dickinson State would respond before the intermission. They built a 9-6 lead in the second, a lead erased by back-to-back kills by Jasmine Nyx (So., Indio, CA), tying the match at 11-11, and forcing a Bluehawk timeout.

The Hawks answered with a 13-of-16 point run, to earn a set opportunity at 24-14. They converted on the fourth try, taking the set 25-17, which tied the match at 1-1 going to the break.

Valley City State opened the third poorly. A series of hitting errors by the Vikings opened up a big Dickinson State lead at 13-6. After a timeout, the Vikings rallied behind a pair of kills by Kosman and Jenna Kolb (Fr., West Fargo, ND), closing to within three at 14-11, forcing a Bluehawk timeout.

Dickinson State got behind the hitting of Michaela Parker (Sr., Marysville, WA) Her power attacks sparked a five-point run out of the timeout, extending the lead to 19-11. The Hawks then chipped away for a 25-20 win, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Vikings started strong in the fourth, building an 11-8 lead, forcing a Bluehawk timeout. The Hawks rallied, tying the match at 15-15, only to see one of the better runs of the year for Valley City State. The Vikings ripped off seven straight points to take a 22-15 lead.

The Bluehawks got a favorable no-call on a ball that was either lifted or contacted twice by the same player, and won a point that turned the set around. The took four straight, challenging the lead to 23-19. The Vikings got to 24 on a Nyx block, and Larson ended the set with a bruising kill, delivering a 25-20 win.

Valley City State wasted no time starting the decisive fifth set. Hard serving by Kosman and a block by Mariah Martin (Jr., Wheatland, ND) ran the Vikings out to a 7-2 lead. A kill by Kolb set up the changeover with the Vikings up 8-4.

The Vikings lost the momentum, giving up two hitting errors and a crucial service error, allowing the Bluehawks to cut the lead to 10-9, forcing a Viking time out. The teams traded sideouts, but the Vikings broke through with a block and kill by Larson to force match point at 14-11. Kosman converted on the third try, landing the Vikings a 15-13 win and the match 3-2.[image2]

The Vikings improve to 5-8 in DAC play, and will travel to Jamestown College Wednesday night for the regular season finale.