BISMARCK – Valley volleyball coach Julie Clark wondered how her team would cope with an unusual 9 a.m. start time following a lengthy trip to Bunker the previous night.
The Lady Vikings naturally encountered a brief stumble in the opening game Saturday morning, but found their bearings in time to sweep host Bismarck 25-23, 25-19, 25-14.
Felisha Stewart notched 12 kills and 11 digs, and Carter Clark compiled eight kills, 13 assists and seven digs to highlight the all-around effort for Valley (5-14, 1-4).
The visitors never trailed in games two or three, and jumped ahead 15-6 in the middle stanza following three aces by Chasey Dunn, who also added seven assists and 11 digs.
Freshman Madison Dunn and senior Lexi Droege each landed seven kills to pace Bismarck. Droege also led defensively with 14 digs while Dunn provided eight more.
The Lady Indians were hoping to snap a winless season, and gave themselves an excellent shot at taking the first set after erasing an 18-14 deficit.
Riley Dickey scored with a two-handed tip before stepping back to serve an ace. Droege cleared off a lunging defender while Kaitlin Naucke served a 5-0 run for a 22-20 lead.
Madison Dunn went cross-court off a back-set from Dickey to restore a 23-22 Bismarck edge after Stewart used power to bring the Lady Vikings even.
Stewart would send down two more clutch kills with a hitting error by the opposition in between. She sealed the opening game on a third attack after Dickey and Dunn had made saving stops.
Valley earlier executed well to stay in front 15-13, as Maliyah Brown guided a pinpoint pass to Clark, who back-set Stewart along the left side. A block by Teagan Ryder had brought Bismarck within 12-11.
Receiving miscues were costly in game two for the Lady Indians, who tried chipping away at their nine-point separation down the stretch.
Alyssa Freeman delivered two solo blocks while posting 12 assists and four kills, and Dunn served two consecutive aces to make the score 21-16.
Clark stopped that momentum abruptly with a turning spike on second contact as Bismarck scrambled back into position, and Stewart answered an ensuing kill by Droege.
Valley finished with an 11-9 edge in kills during game three, and never looked back after spikes from opposite sides by Kenley Missey and Brown punctuated a 12-3 start.
Brown finished with eight digs while Shealy Hamelback and Missey each contributed four to the win. Katie Campbell chipped in two scoring blocks.
Dickey amassed nine digs, nine assists and four kills for Bismarck. Outside hitter Belle Gibson added five kills. Each team played its third contest in as many days.
Although single matches on a weekend morning are rare, scheduling options have been limited since both squads missed a portion of the regular season due to quarantine.
Bismarck (0-19-1, 0-4) will make up its last conference game Monday against Kingston before the MAAA Tournament begins on Tuesday.
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