Devils Lake netters learn lesson in defeat

Ray Maloney, Sports
Devils Lake’s Ashley Sebelius goes high above the net with a kill attempt against Fargo South on Tuesday at the Devils Lake Sports Center. Sebelius and the Firebirds dropped a four-set match to the visiting Bruins in Eastern Dakota Conference volleyball action.

It has long been said that success can often be measured in baby steps. That being the case, the Devils Lake High School volleyball team took some giant strides on Tuesday, despite dropping a four-set match to visiting Fargo South at the Devils Lake Sports Center.

The Bruins won 25-18, 25-19, 14-25, 25-9. Fargo South is now 4-5 in the Eastern Dakota Conference and stands at 16-11 on the season.

Devils Lake fell to 2-9 in the league and 7-16 on the year with the setback.

“We are really a good team,” Devils Lake outside hitter Kenzie Wade said. “We have proven we can play with anyone ... but, we’ve got to put it together more consistently.”

Ahh. Therein lies the buggaboo for the Firebirds.

After dropping the first two sets of the match against the Bruins, Devils Lake proved Wade correct as the Firebirds  handled the Bruins with relative ease, thanks in large part to forcing Fargo South into 15 errors in the third set on the way to posting a 25-14 win in the set.

“We stopped playing hard,” Fargo South coach Tonah Safranski said of her team’s performance in the third set. “We had lots of errors and our heads were not into the game,  therefore ... .

“But give (Devils Lake) lots of credit, they forced us into a lot of those errors,” Safranski added. “They are a very talented team.”

But whatever momentum gained by the Firebirds in their impressive triumph in the set, it quickly evaporated in what turned out to be the final set.

After forcing a sideout and the earning the first point of the set, the Firebirds were never able to challenge the Bruins, who rolled to a 25-9 win in the set to close the match.

“Our biggest problem is serve receive,” said Devils Lake coach Julie Faul. “When we get down on ourselves we seem to get frustrated and we have to learn to overcome that.

“We are coming up to the end of the regular season ... and come tournament time that will be critical for us,” Faul added.

Kenzie Wade led Devils Lake with 12 kills in the match, while Maren Rygh and Steph Mertens chipped in with eight and five kills, respectively.

Fargo South     25     25     14     25

Devils Lake      18     19     25       9

Statistical Leaders

Kills: Fargo South — Meghan Roehrich 10, Siri Burck 9, Laurel Streigel 8, Abby Carlson 8; Devils Lake — Kenzie Wade 12, Maren Rygh 8, Steph Mertens 5. Blocks: Fargo South — Roehrich 3, Carlson 2; Devils Lake — Rygh 6, Ashley Sebelius 2, Taylor Wade 2. Assists: Fargo South — Haley Boisjolie 20, Jill Bethke 14; Devils Lake — Kasi Eisenzimmer 29. Digs: Fargo South — Burke 11; Devils Lake — Mertens 9, K. Wade 9, T. Wade 5, Rygh 5, Eisenzimmer 4. Aces: Fargo South — Burke 4, Streigel 2; Devils Lake — T. Wade 2, Eisenzimmer 1, Rygh 1, K. Wade 1, Autumn Wang 1.