PREP VOLLEYBALL: Panthers advance with sweep of FuldaLUVERNE — When Ashley Daniels received a good pass, she didn’t miss. A senior on Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s volleyball team, Daniels had plenty of good opportunities, leading the Panthers to a sweep of Fulda in Tuesday night’s Sub-Section 3A South semifinal match.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — When Ashley Daniels received a good pass, she didn’t miss.
A senior on Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s volleyball team, Daniels had plenty of good opportunities, leading the Panthers to a sweep of Fulda in Tuesday night’s Sub-Section 3A South semifinal match.
“We were flowing and working together,” Daniels said following T-M-B’s 25-18, 25-12, 25-18 victory. “Our passes were on target, so that makes us be able to hit better and keep the flow going.”
Daniels had a team-high 18 kills for the Panthers as one of the main targets of senior setter Tiffany Karbo.
“Tif just had a nice set for me and I took care of business,” Daniels said.
Karbo had 32 set assists on the night, while Kate Johnston, the third senior on T-M-B’s squad, had 10 kills, 11 service points with one ace and a block.
To go with her kills, Daniels also had eight digs.
“(Ashley) deserved a good match, she’s been struggling here a little bit,” T-M-B head coach Katie Gervais said. “All three seniors did great jobs and took pressure off of our ninth-graders playing. This is what I kind of anticipated all year and they finally put it together.”
T-M-B was able to use its serve to keep Fulda’s offense off balance during the match.
“When you have (Rachel) Cheadle and (Silvia) Zanini hitting — and they did put some balls away — that was our way of controlling their hitting a little bit,” Gervais said. “Good for our girls for serving aggressive and they hit their spots well, too.”
Meanwhile, the Raiders weren’t able to find the same rhythm that led them to a victory against Southwest Star Concept a few nights earlier.
“We knew what they were going to bring us, we practiced for it,” Fulda head coach Jennifer Tiesler said. “But you come out and do the best you can. I’m proud of the girls. They gave their all on Friday and I believe they gave everything tonight, too, we just didn’t have everything clicking like we did Friday.”
The teams traded points early in Game 1, but a pair of aces by Anna Peterson (six points, two ace serves) and a kill by Johnston gave T-M-B a 13-7 advantage.
After a Fulda hitting error, Zanini scored a point on a tip and followed with an ace serve, bringing the Raiders within five, 14-9.
However, Johnston had a kill to start a 6-2 run for the Panthers, who never looked back in a seven-point win.
“We watched Fulda on Friday and I think the girls were a little nervous,” Gervais said. “I was just happy that the girls came out on all cylinders. We passed well and we served well. That’s probably the best we played in the last two or three weeks. They could have been nervous, but I thought they did a great job.”
The Raiders took a 2-0 lead in the second game, but the next eight points went to T-M-B as a kill by Daniels capped the run.
Fulda climbed within four after a block by Cheadle, but a kill by Jenna Stoneberg gave the Panthers the momentum right back.
Johnston had a pair of kills, and Kelli Soupir (19 points, five service aces) added a pair of aces as the Panthers cruised to a 13-point victory in Game 2.
“They are a great volleyball team,” Tiesler said. “They are one of the cleanest fundamentally-wise that I’ve seen in the area. They make few errors and they cover the court really well. We knew that coming in to tonight that we weren’t going to be able to tip it, we were going to have to hit the ball. But you can’t hit the ball when you can’t get a pass to our setter. They just kept us out of our system all night long. We were just scrambling consistently.”
The Panthers again built a big lead in the third game, as a trio of kills by Daniels and an ace by Johnston gave T-M-B a 22-8 advantage.
That lead went to 24-11 after a kill by Daniels.
However, the Raiders weren’t done.
Zanini had a pair of kills, Brittney Hermeling had an ace and Zanini added a kill late as Fulda went on a quick 7-0 run.
“We started to play at the end how we played Friday night,” Tiesler said. “We needed to bring that a little sooner on. They went out hard, they didn’t roll over and give it to them.”
But a missed serve gave the Panthers the match-winning point.
“We knew we would finish,” Daniels said.
The third-seeded Panthers (15-15) will face fifth-seeded Red Rock Central on Thursday in the sub-section championship.
“It’s fun,” Daniels said. “It’s getting intense now. We’re just going to keep working hard and keep working for the next one.”
The two teams have played already this season. T-M-B won 2-1 at the Jackson tournament on Sept. 17.
“When they are in system, they can hit the ball well,” Gervais said. “They throw enough at you to keep you off balance. Our girls need to celebrate tonight and we need to get back to business tomorrow and go through our scouting report.”
The match will be played at 7:30 p.m. at Southwest Minnesota State University.
“We’ve played at Marshall before, so hopefully that helps us,” Gervais said. “The R/A facility is a different place to play on, so hopefully that is a benefit for us.”