Tetons take final two sets for the comeback win over Royals

Chris Harris, DLJ Sports
Lake Region State College's Ashley Schuster (16) goes up for an attack against Williston State College Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 in Devils Lake.

It was only fitting that the Sports Center was without air conditioning Tuesday night. It was an earlier indicator of how hotly contested Lake Region State College’s volleyball match with Williston State College will become.

With one set away from getting a key Mon-Dak Conference victory, the Royals let it slip away as the Tetons won sets four and five to leave Devils Lake with the 3-2 match victory.

“You saw us win set two, win set three and we were in control. And we figured out what control was and then we just didn’t come out set four and set five,” said Royals head coach Brigitte Greywater.

The Royals (5-13, 1-3 MonDak) controlled the second and third sets, winning those two by the 25-23, 25-22 scores, after dropping the first set 22-25 in which the Royals led the Tetons 22-19 there in the first game before Williston ended it on a 6-0 run.

The Tetons dominated the fourth set, going out to the 11-3 lead. Lake Region got within four at 19-15 after a Jadaeya Morrell ace but the hole was too large to overcome and the Tetons forced a decisive fifth set by winning the fourth game 25-19.

“Our serve receive got shaky, our defense got shaky and then a tip fest occurred. It was non-aggressive. They chose to play safe,” Greywater said

The Tetons (5-6, 1-1) scored the set’s first three points before Jexley Porrata ended the run. The Royals took the lead at 5-4 after an attack error by Haylee Barta, Williston tied the set behind a Barta kill but Morrell’s kill gave the Royals the lead again. Lake Region went up two but the Tetons went on a 5-0 spurt that was capped off by a Sydney Beck kill that put the Tetons up three. The cushion was enough as Williston won set five 15-10.

“It was just a series of events of non-aggressive volleyball. We are a good team, there’s no doubt in my mind that we do not know how to win and we do not know how to finish at the moment,” Greywater said. “At the end of the day, you can tell your athletes ‘hey, I believe in you’ but you can’t believe in them more than they believe in their selves.”

Porrata finished with 15 kills, two blocks and three aces, Morrell had 12 kills and 17 digs, Sydney Hertlein had 10 kills and Fabianne Besosa had 21 digs for the Royals, who played their third five-set match of the season, going 1-2 in those contests.

“We went five with Bottineau, we went five with the 12th team in the nation (Iowa Central Community College), we went five with Williston, you have to find away to come out on top,” Greywater said.

The Royals will close out September with road matches on Saturday the 21st in Minnesota and Bismarck State College on the 25th before opening October with four of their first five matches in the Sports Center.

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ