Hanson said he told his team in the locker room afterwards that each set had a different feel.
“We had good overall composure through the course of the first set,” Hanson said. “In the second set we were coming from behind and the third set it was tight, tight, tight and then we had a good finish at the end.
“So in each of those I think we learned more things about ourselves in the sense of not being overwhelmed by the scoreboard, but just keep chipping away at points and learning how to flex our offense and defense to go up against the other team. That’s what I’m really encouraged by in this match.”
Dordt maintained a comfortable cushion through the first set, which ended at 25-17 with a block by Corrina Timmermans.
The second and third sets were more back and forth. Dakota Wesleyan had a lead as late as 21-20 in the second and it was tied at 22-22 before the Defenders scored the final three points.
“We played really well and were focused on having a good first win in the conference,” said Winterfeld, another product of the powerhouse Western Christian program. “We worked a lot on chipping away at them and didn’t let them get on big runs which is nice and we were able to side out right away.
“We knew they were going to be good, they were really good last year. But that tendency to just keep pushing one at a time really stuck with us today.”