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By RON DEUTER
Theresa Peterson/The Daily News Photo
Forest Park’s Lexi Gussert (9) puts up a block attempt on a hit by North Dickinson’s Miranda Jacobson during Tuesday evening’s Skyline volleyball match at Carl F. Lemin Gymnasium.
FELCH - Forest Park's firepower out matched North Dickinson in Skyline volleyball here Tuesday night, but the Nordics young squad proved it's headed in the right direction.
The Lady Trojans earned a 25-16, 25-20-25-18 victory.
"Give North Dickinson credit," Forest Park coach Kim Bjork said. "They covered the floor well, they played our balls up, they had a lot of touches on our blocks."
Lexi Gussert led the Trojans and all attackers in the match with 14 kills, but North Dickinson's Miranda Jacobson, a sophomore, single-handedly prevented that total from escalating even more with five solo blocks of the all-region hitter.
"She can really jump," Bjork said of Jacobson. "She's going to be something to watch over the next few years."
Uncharacteristically, the Nordics biggest struggles came at the serving line, several times killing potential momentum swings.
"We haven't served that bad all year," Nordics coach Sandy Haustein said. "Tonight it seemed like we were hitting everything out."
Forest Park found little resistance in the first set, building a 20-7 lead before settling for the 25-16 victory. And while the Lady Trojans maintained control throughout, sets two and three were more tightly contested.
"I thought the second two games we played right them," Haustein said. "We were moving. We just had a few bad passes there, and we when we make a bad pass we're sitting there watching instead of coming up and covering."
A kill from the outside by Samantha Nylund, who finished with five, put Forest Park ahead 9-8 in set two, and the Lady Trojans never trailed again.
Jacobson, who also totaled a team-best six kills, brought the Nordics within two at 15-13, but Forest Park answered with a double block from Gussert and Maria Stankewicz, a kill by Gussert and an ace from Abby Sommers to regain control.
"We didn't play at the level we usually play," Bjork said. "But great teams play at their level all the time and we're not a great team yet. We're just good."
A couple more kills by Gussert, a solo block from Mindy DeNell and a double block by Kendra Campbell and Michaela Steiro helped the Lady Trojans pull out front early in set three.
A block from Jacobson in the middle had the Nordics as close as four at 11-7, but Gussert and Campbell put down spikes ahead of another ace by Sommers to lift Forest Park.
"They were the better team," Haustein said. "The controlled the ball better than us. But we're making steps in the right direction."
The Trojans and Nordics will see a lot of each other as the season progresses, including this Saturday at Forest Park's tournament.
"Definitely, they are much better," Bjork said.
Nordics host Carney-Nadeau Thursday while Forest Park goes to North Central.
North Dickinson (offense and serving)
Lexi Steele - 3 kills, 1 ace; Kimberly Cary - 1 kill, 1 block; Chelsey Stroud - 2 aces, 1 kill; Miranda Jacobson - 6 kills, 5 blocks, 1 ace; Marissa Jauquet - 3 kills.
Lexi Gussert - 14 kills, 3 aces, 17 digs, 2 blocks, 2 block assists; Sam Nylund - 5 kills, 6 digs; Kendra Campbell - 1 kill, 1 ace, 3 digs, 1 block assist; Gina Graff - 2 aces, 16 digs, 1 assist; Maria Stankewicz - 1 ace, 1 dig, 22 assists, 2 block assists; Abby Sommers - 2 aces, 6 digs; Mindy DeNell - 2 kills, 2 aces, 15 digs, 1 block, 1 block assist; Maria DeMuri - 1 kill, 1 ace; Mary Grandahl - 4 kills, 1 dig, 1 block, 1 assist; Michaela Steiro - 1 block assist.