Beavers top Mayville State in four sets

The Minot State University volleyball team had more than twice as many errors as Mayville State on Wednesday night, but superior firepower carried the Beavers to a four-set nonconference victory.

Sophomores Mallory Sall and Tarah Dabovich posted 19 and 13 kills, respectively, and junior Jen Dixon added 11 as the Beavers won 25-15, 14-25, 25-19, 25-15 at the MSU Dome.

Mayville had just one hitter reach double-digits in kills – junior Josie Glatt with 17.

Minot State coach Travis Ward said his team looked flat during a rare midweek match.

“I don’t think we went as hard as we could’ve tonight,” he said. “Obviously, it’s nice to get a win. (Mayville is) a nice team, but we probably didn’t put the things into it that we needed to put into it.”

The Division II Beavers (11-13) looked poised to cruise to a sweep after they polished off the NAIA Comets in a routine opening set. Sall had seven of her kills as the Beavers hit .324 in the opening stanza.

But Mayville (18-17) was the more inspired team in the second game, pounding 14 kills and taking advantage of nine Minot State miscues to win a lopsided set. The Comets never trailed and the margin was never less than five after 11-6.

“They made some mistakes that we capitalized on, just like they did in the first set,” Mayville coach Lindsey Johnson said. “I think we made a lot of mistakes in the first set. Our intensity was definitely up. This is a tough place to play and when you can get any type of momentum and intensity in here, you gotta run with it.”

The third set was the most competitive. Mayville recorded just four kills and a block in tying the game at 14-14. The rest of the points ended on Minot State’s terms – whether in favor of the Beavers or not. Eight of the Comets’ first 14 points in the set came on MSU errors.

“They dig a friggin’ ton of balls,” Ward said of Mayville. “They put balls back over and you’ve gotta score to win. If you go halfway on anything, they’re going to put the ball back over and make it tough on you.”

Sall re-emerged late in the third game to give the Beavers a cushion. The 6-footer smacked four kills in a six-point stretch and senior middle hitter Kelsey Wingo’s attack found the floor to complete the 25-19 frame.

Minot State junior setter Emily Byrne tallied 55 assists and got the entire offense involved. Dabovich and Wingo combined for 22 kills from the middle position.

“Our middles are a huge part of our offense,” Byrne said. “You’ve gotta get ’em going if you’re gonna win games. That’s my job and the two middles I have right now are amazing.”

After holding an 11-10 advantage in game four, the Beavers pulled away and finished strong. Dixon recorded three kills as Minot State took six of the last seven points.

The Beavers travel to Upper Iowa on Friday and Winona State on Saturday.

Daniel Allar covers Minot State University athletics. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.