This weekend the Dakota State volleyball team traveled down to sunny Phoenix, Arizona for the A.I.I volleyball postseason tournament. The Trojans suffered two losses in a row as they played the top seeded team La Sierra (Calif.) and fourth seed Mayville State. Even though the Trojans didn’t finish as strong as they wanted they still recorded the most wins in a season since 2005.
Friday morning, the Trojans kicked-off pool play against La Sierra. DSU dropped the first set with a score of 20-25. The second set went to the Trojans as they built an early lead and finished the set with a 25-15 win. The Trojans had the lead for most of the third set, but La Sierra had a 7-0 run to finish the match at 25-20. Once again, in the fourth set the Trojans had the lead a few times, but the Golden Eagles rallied back to take the set at 29-27, winning the match 3-1.
Stephanie Kruggel had a good match with 21 kills and 15 digs for the Trojans. Caitlin Pick and Lauren LaBar both had nine kills. Stacey Schuller had 40 set assists and had five service aces.
Trojan setter Stacey Schuller stated, “ We saw a lot of great teams perform and we competed very hard with both La Sierra and Mayville.”
Later that night the Trojans returned to take on their old DAC rivals, Mayville State. In the first set the Lady T’s knew they had to come out strong to find a rhythm to set the tone for the match. They did just that, beating the Comets with a score of 25-10 to take the match lead at 1-0. The Comets answered right back with a commanding 25-12 win the second set. Mayville kept rolling as they went up 2-1 in the match with a close 25-21 win. The fourth set was hard fought battle, the Comets rallied anther comeback late and the Trojans couldn’t answer back losing with a score of 25-22.
“We competed very well with the top seeds, we just couldn’t finish when we needed to,’’ said Stephanie Kruggel about the A.I.I. Conference Tournament.
Kristen DiPaola had 28 kills for the Trojans. Kruggel had her second double double with 15 kills and 21 digs. Schuller had 42 assists and Katie Green had 10 digs. Dakota State finished their season with a 16-22 record overall. This game also marked the last game for seniors Stephanie Kruggel and Lauren LaBar.
“This season defiantly had some adversity we had to overcome, but everyone came together and worked hard to get to Arizona. I couldn’t of asked for a better group of girls to experience it with,” said Stephanie Kruggel about the overall season.
Trojan Hitter’s Stephanie Kruggel and Kristen Dipaola, concluded their season with earning honors from the A.I.I. All-Conference Tournament Team.
Main picture taken by, DSU Volleyball Assistant Coach Jessica VanLoy.