Linton-HMB sweeps past Dickinson TrinityNicole Nieuwsma happily watched from the bench last season while her team made a run to the Class B state semifinals. “We had a really, really tough senior class last year,” said Nieuwsma, Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock’s dynamic outside hitter. “I played against them. They kind of made me how I am now.”
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
MINOT — Nicole Nieuwsma happily watched from the bench last season while her team made a run to the Class B state semifinals.
“We had a really, really tough senior class last year,” said Nieuwsma, Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock’s dynamic outside hitter. “I played against them. They kind of made me how I am now.”
The sophomore clearly paid attention in practice.
Behind Nieuwsma’s 14 kills and 10 digs, the Lions advanced to the semis of the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year, downing Dickinson Trinity 26-16, 25-13, 25-14 Thursday at the Minot State University Dome.
“She’s just a confident kid for a sophomore,” Linton-HMB coach Jaime Richter said. “She controls the tempo with her hitting.”
Linton-HMB, champion out of Region 3, meets Region 1 champion Kindred at 6 p.m. today, hoping it can earn its second title-match trip in four years.
“We got fourth three years ago, two years ago we got second and last year, we were fourth,” said Richter, whose team starts just one senior. “We want to do something here.”
Nieuwsma made her presence known in game 1, though it was Trinity with the early momentum. The Titans led 6-1 and 12-7 until the Lions caught fire behind Nieuwsma, who had eight kills in the first game including seven in a game-ending 18-4 run. She had four straight kills at one point.
The humble hitter doesn’t see herself as as standout, however.
“I don’t really think of myself as being that great of a player,” Nieuwsma said. “I just don’t give myself that much credit, I guess.”
Richter said that was evident when she was named to the all-District 6 team.
“She was shocked,” Richter said. “She was like, ‘Who? Me?’ That’s the type of kid she is.”
The big momentum shift was too much for the Titans, who received a five-kill performance from standout Alyson Schieno in the first game. She was held to five kills the rest of the way, and Richter said strong serving was the difference.
“If you want to see what won the game, I think it’s our serving and our serve receive,” Richter said. “The whole key was to get them off balance with the serve receive. We kind of set the tone where (Schieno) couldn’t get any big swings on us.”
The Lions embarked on a 6-1 run in game 2 to go up 20-11 and an 11-2 run to take a 17-6 lead in the final game en route to the win.
McKenna Flyberg finished with 11 kills and eight digs, while Kaidra Larson had seven kills and four aces. Setter Tiffaney Gerving added 31 assists.
State Class B Volleyball Tournament
At Minot State University Dome
Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock 3, Dickinson Trinity 0
DT 16 13 14
LHMB 25 25 25
DT - Kills, Alyson Schieno 10, Gretchen Weir 6, Katelyn Grinsteinner 2, Allison Steffan 2. Assists, Katelyn Dockter 14, Molly Schweitzer 3. Aces, Kennedy Keator 3, Ali Kovash 2. Blocks, Weir 1. Digs, Schieno 10, Katelyn RUmmel 6, Grinsteinner 5.
LHMB - Kills, Nicole Nieuwsma 14, McKenna Flyberg 11, Kaidra Larson 7, Jadyn Gefroh 4. Assists, Tiffaney Gerving 31. Aces, Larson 4. Blocks, Gefroh 1, Larson 1, Nieuwsma 1. Digs, Jessica Schlosser 13, Gergin 10, Nieuwsma 10, Flyberg 8, Kayla Jacob 5, Morgan Holzer 4, Larson 3, Alexandria Umber 2.
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at 701-952-8462 or by email at email@example.com