Devils Lake drops to eighth in the Eastern Dakota Conference standings after a 3-0 match sweep by West Fargo.

The slide continued for Devils Lake.

The Firebirds lost their fourth straight volleyball match Tuesday, Oct. 1, this time to West Fargo which came into the match in second place, a half game lead over West Fargo Sheyenne which played an out of conference match against Moorhead on Tuesday.

The Packers swept the Firebirds in three straight sets and dropping the Firebirds to eighth in the Eastern Dakota Conference.

“Our mentality has to change,” said Firebirds head coach Courtney Carlson about the skid. “Right now, I feel that our first sets we make a lot of errors in the beginning and then we pull it together and then we’ll lose by two or three.”

The Firebirds (4-11, 3-7 EDC) trailed 17-13 in the first set but kills by Rachel Dahlen pulled the Firebirds to within one twice, at 17-16 and 18-17 respectively. The Firebirds tied the match at 18-all but the Packers (17-4, 8-2) went on a 5-1 spurt to take a four point advantage. The Firebirds got to within one by West Fargo scored two consecutive points to win the opening set 25-22.

Devils Lake trailed by three late in the second set but consecutive kills by Maya Barendt pulled the Firebirds to one at 18-17. An attack error by West Fargo’s Nadia Chwialkowski, followed by a Barendt ace and the Firebirds had tied the set at 19 apiece. The Packers went on a 6-0 run to end the set at 25-19.

After a Barendt kill got the third set tied at 2, the Packers outscored the Firebirds 23-10 to finish the sweep with the 25-12 set victory.

Barendt finished with seven kills and four aces.

“We carry that losing momentum into the second set and we feel defeated. We’re thankful that volleyball is a game that start at zero-zero every game and we got to have that mentality that even if we’re down a set, that doesn’t mean the match is over,” Carlson said.

Dahlen finished with six kills, Jes Mertens had four kills and 14 digs, Abby Johnson had 11 digs and two aces and Olivia Elfman finished with nine digs and 14 assists for the Firebirds who have lost all four on the losing streak in three sets.

“Playing how we practice is huge. We go over defensive things every single day and all because our opponent changes, doesn’t mean our defense changes so I told them (before the match) to make sure that they’re buying into the system,” Carlson said. “I think we need more buy in defensively. We need to make some smarter choices and make sure that we’re feeding our big hitters.”

The Firebirds will end the week on the road with a match against Turtle Mountain Community High School tonight and in Grand Forks Friday to play Red River. The Firebirds will return to the Sports Center on Monday, Oct. 7 to face Fargo Davies.

Chwialkowski finished with 16 kills, Erin Painstock had 11 kills, both Mary Schnell and Bryn Giesen had 12 digs each and Katelyn Tveito had 39 assists for the Packers.

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com.

Other scores from Tuesday, Oct. 1

Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich d. Four Winds/Minnewauakan 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-17)

Malori Pletcher had nine kills and three aces, Marlee Hetletved had seven kills, Brooke Bakke had six kills, seven aces and 10 digs, Morgan Thielbar had seven aces and 13 assists and McKenna Belle had 11 digs for the Cardinals.

For the Indians, Latasha Bellile had six kills and 14 digs, Myona Dauphinais had five kills and eight digs, Kaylece Littlewind had 20 digs and Ezura Rainbow finished with two kills and six blocks.

North Star d. Dakota Prairie 3-0 (25-4, 25-18, 25-12).