New Rockford-Sheyenne keeps momentum going, sweeps St. John

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

NEW ROCKFORD – The New Rockford-Sheyenne Rockets knew a thing or two about comeback performances, especially over the past week. Dating back to Sep. 23, New Rockford-Sheyenne was 2-0 against Harvey/Wells County (9/23) and Benson County (9/28), where, during both matches, the Rockets clawed back from a two-set deficit to scoop up the win. 

Then, there was the Devils Lake Tournament on Sep. 25, where the Rockets had to battle against fatigue in what was a tiring affair that eventually netted them a third-place finish. 

Nevertheless, the Rockets pulled through. And pull through the Rockets did from start to finish on Sep. 30 as they swept St. John in three straight sets. 

With the win, the Rockets (6-3) are now 3-0 at home this season (their first home win came on Sep. 21 against Drake-Anamoose). The Rockets additionally picked up their third-straight win against a region opponent. St. John, meanwhile, remains winless this season (0-9). 

“I think it is another confidence booster for our girls to win our third region game,” head coach Sara Myhre said after the match. “Moving forward, we have a lot of region games coming up. I think our confidence is building a lot from these wins.” 

After losing the first set during their previous two matches against Harvey/Wells County and Benson County, New Rockford-Sheyenne wished to start their match on better footing against the Woodchucks Thursday evening. However, the Rockets were unable to consistently serve the volleyball cleanly to begin set one as St. John tallied their first two points on the board thanks to a pair of New Rockford-Sheyenne serving errors. 

Even still, the Rockets were able to pull through, capitalize on enough opponent errors and tally enough kills via the perimeter to pick up the 25-13 set one win. 

Keeping it simple during each serve was one message the Rockets took to heart heading into set two. 

“Just keep setting up the ball and trying to get into the setter’s box so she can get there and set it up,” sophomore outside hitter Kelsie Belquist said. “Just keep it easy and do not try to serve it hard or anything. Just get it over.” 

New Rockford-Sheyenne vs. St. John 9/30/21

Just like that, the Rockets began to find more consistency and rhythm. The outside hitting duo of Belquist and Mya Cudworth began feasting on St. John’s positioning to collectively rack up the spikes and tip in the softer kills when the defense did not expect it. Although St. John won four of the final six rallies during the set, New Rocket-Sheyenne came away with the 25-6 set two win. 

The 25-8 set three victory not only dealt the killing blow to the Woodchucks but propelled the Rockets to yet another win. Even when the Rockets lost a point, they still maintained momentum over their previous week of action to remain upbeat all the way through. 

“I think it really helps you in the end,” Belquist said. “When you do not have energy, everyone starts playing bad and they get down on themselves. When you have energy, you are happy for everyone even if you do not get the set, but you are still happy you got the point and they hit it in.” 

To Myhre, the Sep. 30 sweep emphasized the obvious: her team has momentum. However, the Rockets, who will play four of their next six matches on the road, showed something else. 

The Rockets, in Myhre’s mind, showed the ability to constantly look toward the next play and maintain optimism even when the team lost a rally. 

“That is the biggest mental game in volleyball,” Myhre said. “When someone makes a mistake, how are you going to make the next play? That is what we have been learning along the way, and I think we have overcome that. Get back into the game and forget what happened during that last play or mistake. We still have a game to win here. I think that has gotten a lot better. Just seeing them smiling and having a good time is really rewarding as a coach.” 

The Rockets will begin a three-match road trip on Oct. 7, starting with Dunseith.