Spartans to much for Firebirds; wins in 3 sets

Chris Harris, DLJ Sports
Devils Lake's Rachel Dahlen's (10) attack is block by Fargo North's Georgia Paul (11) with teammate Emily Skalicky (12) also on the defense in the second set of a NDHSAA volleyball match Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Devils Lake.

Devils Lake’s volleyball match against Fargo North snowballed quickly. After a close first set, the Firebirds wasn’t able to fight through their trials in a 3-0 sweep to the Spartans Tuesday night from the Sports Center.

“I think we started off strong in that first set but we need to figure out as a team how we’re going to push through and fight against adversity,” said Firebirds head coach Courtney Carlson.

The Firebirds (2-7, 0-2 Eastern Dakota Conference) got out to a 2-0 lead in the first game after a Maya Barendt kill but the Spartans went on a 5-0 run, earning the lead and then going up by two behind consecutive aces by Emily Skalicky. However, the Firebirds were able to tie the set twice, the final time at 10-all after another Barendt kill. Devils Lake pulled within two late in the set but lost 25-22.

The Firebirds led the second set 14-13 but an attack error by Jes Mertens gave the Spartans (5-4, 1-1) the 15-14 advantage. It was part of a 5-0 run that led to Fargo North winning the second game 25-18.

In the third set, the Spartans led by as many as 12 before winning the set 25-13 and closing the match.

“If we get down two sets, that doesn’t mean that it’s over and that’s the mentality that our girls are beginning to have. So we need to switch that mentality,” Carlson said.

Barendt finished with nine kills, Abby Johnson had 22 digs, Mertens had 15 digs and three kills and Olivia Elfman had 11 digs and 20 assists for the Firebirds who has lost two of three and seven of their last eight.

“If each individual on the court and on the bench decide for themselves that they’re going to have great attitudes, communicate a lot and have great effort, good things will happen. We need to buy into those little things, buy into our system in order for our team to be cohesive,” Carlson said.

Skalicky finished with five aces, three blocks and 28 assists, Karlie Goschen had 22 digs and Georgia Paul had nine kills, three aces and two assists to pace the Spartans.

The Firebirds next two matches will be on the road, Thursday at Grand Forks Central and Saturday, Sept. 14 at Wahepton. Devils Lake next home match will be on Thursday, Sept. 19 when it host Fargo South.

Chris Harris can be reached at and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ