101217-spt-bsc-volleyball

Bismarck State College's Kristina Lucier (6) gets a block against Lake Region State College at the Armory during Wednesday night's match.

MIKE MCCLEARY, TRIBUNE

There do not appear to be many chinks in the armor for the BSC volleyball team.

If anything, head coach Jeni Walsh would like to see a little more dog in her 20-win team.

"Sometimes the communication breaks down. We had a couple of balls tonight just fall because, you know, we have very nice kids," Walsh said of her 20-7 Mystics. "Sometimes, I want to see a little more fire. I want to see some drool."

Other than the rare stray ball falling to the floor, the Mystics were clicking on all cylinders Wednesday night in overpowering Lake Region State College. BSC didn't allow the Royals more than 15 points in any of the three sets.

"Our goals are to keep going. Keep winning and play together for as long as we can," said sophomore captain Sierra Graff, who slammed nine kills. "Basically, we just wanted to stay sharp tonight and get ready for the end-of-the-season tournaments to make sure we're at the top of our game when it matters the most."

If they're not there now, they sure seem close. The win pushed their Mon-Dak-leading mark to 8-1.

The Mystics were coming off a weekend against top-flight competition in Nebraska where half of the teams involved in the tournament were ranked in NJCAA Division II.

"It was very good competition. It was somewhat of an eye opener for our younger players. We were playing teams with 6-foot-2 outside hitters. That's not something you see everyday," Walsh said. "But I thought it was a good experience for us. The matches were at our speed, they weren't too fast for us, and we played pretty well at times."

Against Lake Region, setters Jessie Oja (19 assists) and Alyssa Beck (17) had the offense humming. Liza Doppler put down a team-high 10 kills.

"Our setters have been doing a really good job on location and timing," Walsh said.

The coach also had high praise for her defense. Sam Anklam turned up 14 digs, while Kristina Lucier (2.5 blocks) and Hannah Hanson (2) provided a strong wall up front.

The freshman from Mandan thought there were many positives to take from the lopsided match.

"It's really important to stay up at the level we've been playing at," Hanson said. "It's definitely been exciting to see how good we can truly be. We just want to keep pushing each other to see what more we're capable of."

There's always room for improvement, though.

"I think just in communication between all of us," Hanson said. "That's something we know we can do better and we will."

Graff believes the team's biggest strength may have nothing to do with Xs and Os.

"I just think we have great team chemistry. We all want each other to do well. We're always pulling for each other," she said. "We believe in what we're doing and that can take us a long way."

The Mystics head to Devils Lake for a tournament on Saturday and Sunday ahead of a big Mon-Dak showdown in Wahpeton with NDSCS next Wednesday. The Wildcats currently sit second in the Mon-Dak.

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