MARSHALL - By utilizing their deep bench, the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks scored their second win of the season over the Canby Lancers on Tuesday and advanced to the Section 3A-North sub-section finals in the process.
Having already defeated the Lancers 3-1 on Sept. 20, the Blackjacks used a 25-19, 25-16, 18-25, 25-20 four-set victory at the R/A Facility to set up a third meeting with third-ranked and top-seeded Minneota on Thursday.
The Blackjacks (21-6 overall) had three players reach double-digit kills, and two tallied at least 22 set assists to keep the Lancers (19-11) off balance throughout the match.
Photo by Travis Andries
Dawson-Boyd’s Justine Lee, center, tips the ball over the net as teammate Katarina Kuhlmann, right, looks on and Canby’s Kristy Schmidt defends during a semifinal match of the Section 3A-North volleyball tournament Tuesday night at the R/A Facility in Marshall.
"We have so many girls that are talented and athletic, and they know the game of volleyball," Dawson-Boyd head coach Ashley Dahl said. "And it's kind of nice to have everything, it's nice to be able to mix it up and be able to use everybody instead of just a couple people."
The versatility of the Blackjacks was on display from the get-go, as six Blackjacks picked up kills during the opening set.
The Blackjacks jumped out to a 7-3 lead then later used a 6-0 run to take control of the first set 15-7. Canby tried to sneak back into the set, but Dawson-Boyd held tough and ended the set on a kill from Katarina Kuhlmann.
Kuhlmann finished the night with 11 kills, trailing Justine Lee's 16 and Mari Lee's match-high 22 kills. Justine Lee also had 22 digs, while Kylie Schuelke had 42 for Dawson-Boyd, which managed to hold dynamic Lancer hitter Taylor Gorder to 14 kills on the match. Also impacting the effectiveness of the Lancer attack was a an aggressive blocking effort by the Blackjacks.
"Our defense is probably one of the strongest things that we have, and that really helped us out tonight," Dahl said.
The Blackjacks rolled to their win in the second set thanks to 11 errors by the Lancers, their highest total in any set. Dawson-Boyd led just 12-10, before a 13-6 closing run.
But Canby would bounce back in the third set, taking advantage of Blackjack errors caused by aggressive serving. Along with a pair of aces by Dani Kontz, who would finish the match with three, the Lancers were able to keep the Blackjacks out of system and limit the effectiveness of their attack to take the third set 25-18.
"As long as we can serve and pass, it seems that we can do better," Dahl said. "Our hitting does very well when we get that ball to target. It all begins with the pass."
Kontz's three aces trailed Gorder's four for the match high. Along with serving, the Lancers also did an excellent job of keeping the ball alive. Four Lancers had at least 10 digs. Libero Hannah Jessen led the team with 23, while Tara Kockelman had 14. Kristy Schmidt and Gorder each had 10, and Schmidt also tallied 22 set assists.
During the final set, the Blackjacks had to battle back from an early 9-4 deficit to win 25-20.
Dawson-Boyd cut the lead to 9-8 before tying the match at 11. The Blackjacks would not take the lead until the middle of a 4-0 run gave them a 15-14 advantage.
The Lancers would threaten to tie, but a pair of timely kills from Nicole Jurgenson thwarted the Canby comeback and set up the final 7-2 run that led to the Blackjacks victory.
"Nicole Jurgenson really did well," Dahl said. "I know she only had five kills, but it was the kills at a certain time that were the game-changer. She's not really a kill leader when we played during the season, but she's really stepped it up late in the season and made plays when we needed them."
With one familiar face behind them, the third-seeded Blackjacks now prepare for their third test against third-ranked Minneota at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, back at the R/A Facility. The Blackjacks were swept by the Vikings on Oct. 15 and Oct. 6, but they're hoping that the third time is the charm.
"It's the third time we've played them and they're a good team," Dahl said. "It's a little David and Goliath, but anything can happen. As long as we play good defense, I think we should be okay."
D-B25 25 18 25
Canby19 16 25 20
Serving (aces): D-Andrea Lee 2, Kylie Schuelke 1, Katarina Kuhlmann 1, Justine Lee 1; C-Taylor Gorder 4, Dani Kontz 3, Rachel Jessen 1, Kristy Schmidt 1.
Kills: D-Mari Lee 22, J. Lee 16, Kuhlmann 11; C-Gorder 14, Ricki Kallhoff 8.
Digs: D-Schuelke 42, J. Lee 22; C-Hannah Jessen 23, Tara Kockelman 14, Schmidt 10, Gorder 10.
Set Assists: D-Justine Flattum 24, A. Lee 22; C-Schmidt 22.
Blocks: D-M. Lee 4, Kelly Husby 2; C-Kallhoff 1, Alenni Nemitz 1.