Elfman finished with six kills, 22 assists and 17 digs in the 18-25, 16-25, 16-25 loss to 20-win West Fargo Sheyenne.

The theme for the Devils Lake volleyball team all season has been growth. As the Firebirds ended their home schedule Thursday night with another loss, head coach Courtney Carlson spoke about how her team progressed from Week 1 until now. 

“We talked a lot this season about growth and peaking at the right and I think we’re getting to the top [of that spectrum],” she said. “From the first time we played West Fargo Sheyenne until now, we’ve had a lot of growth. 

“A lot of good things have happened.”

The Firebirds and Mustangs first played one another back on Sept. 24 and much like that match, the Mustangs came away with the 3-0 sweep Thursday. It was the third straight loss for the Firebirds who will end their regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at Shanley.

“I thought we played really well. We worked very, very hard, we were defensively sound and very aggressive at the net,” said Carlson.

The Firebirds (6-17, 4-15 Eastern Dakota Conference) played with the conference No. 2 team even throughout much of the first set, taking an 11-10 lead after a Rachel Dahlen kill. Another Dahlen kill, followed by an Olivia Elfman ace gave the Firebirds the 13-12 lead. However leading by two, the Mustangs go on a 7-0 run to take a 20-15 advantage before closing out the set with the 25-18 win.

Elfman also finished with 17 digs and 22 assists to go along with her six kills.

The Mustangs (20-4, 16-3) led from the opening serve to final point in the second set, opening 5-0 lead. A Jes Mertens kill got Devils Lake to within three at 11-8 but would get no closer as Sheyenne won the second set 25-16.

Abby Johnson, who was moved to the front line from her primary libero position, gave the Firebirds a one point lead in the third set with one of her six kills but after Jadyn Feist tied the match at 3, the Mustangs took the lead for good on the next serve and went on to win the match with the 25-16 Set 3 victory.

Johnson had 12 digs, Mertens finished with six kills and 18 digs, Maya Barendt had eight kills and Morgan Anderson had 19 digs for the Firebirds.

After Shanley, the Firebirds will travel to Fargo to play the 8 vs. 9 region tournament play-in game against South on Friday, Nov. 8. The Bruins swept the season series between the two schools, winning both matches in three set sweeps.

“From where we started to where we are now, we’re a totally different team. So I’m excited to go into the post season with this momentum that we have,” Carlson said. 

Feist had 15 kills, 18 digs and two blocks, Sydney Smith had eight kills, 13 digs and two blocks and McKenzie Newton had seven kills and 38 assists to pace Sheyenne.

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

Other scores from Thursday, Oct. 31

Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich d. Lakota 25-3, 25-10, 25-8

Callie Ronningen had eight kills, five aces and nine digs; Lexis Olson had five kills, four blocks, six aces and 10 digs; Kaylee Lowery had 20 assists, four aces and two digs and Cora Badding had seven kills for the Cardinals (18-2-1).

Kendra Kremer had four kills and Emily Bina had four assists and two digs for the Raiders (5-12).

Harvey-Wells County (6-12) d. Dakota Prairie (2-13), 3-2 (24-26, 25-22, 25-18, 17-25, 16-14).

Rolla (14-3) d. New Rockford-Sheyenne (6-8), 3-2 (25-18, 25-21, 17-25, 14-25, 15-10).

North Star (12-3) d. Rolette-Wolford (2-14), 3-0 (25-7, 25-12, 25-9).