MW VOLLEYBALL: Lady Jays fall to Spartans in fourWORTHINGTON — After falling behind two games to none, the Lady Jays volleyball team tried their best to make a comeback, but their efforts fell short as the Fergus Falls Spartans claimed a 3-1 win Saturday.
By: Jordan Willi, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — After falling behind two games to none, the Lady Jays volleyball team tried their best to make a comeback, but their efforts fell short as the Fergus Falls Spartans claimed a 3-1 win Saturday.
“The girls were executing correctly but they were not able to keep the momentum,” MW coach Marie Johnson. “Fergus Falls just seemed to be one step a head of us for the first two sets of this match.”
Game 1 started with Fergus Falls taking an early lead on a pair of kills by the Spartans from line. But Minnesota West fought back and took a three point lead just a few plays later on the back of four kills by Katey Granstra and a pair of ace blocks.
The Spartans tied the game at nine with two more kills and shifted the momentum in their favor for the rest of the set. The Lady Jays made a game of it, picking up kills from Brittany Hulstein, Lindsey Drooger and Christine Kazemba, but they were never able to regain the lead.
“We were slow in the first couple games,” Granstra said. “I think we knew this game meant a lot, so that affected how we played. We didn’t want to make too many mistakes or mess up anything. And it ended up making us look slow and second guess a lot of things we usually don’t.”
Fergus Falls used two aces and kills from Andrea Christenson, Amanda Folden and Kaitlyn Timian to seal up the win in Game 1, with a final score of 25-17.
The second game went much the same way for the Lady Jays. MW had an early lead, but could never quite pull away from FF.
Eventually, the Spartans were able to take charge once again and used seven straight points to finish off the Lady Jays 25-16.
MW finally hit its stride in Game 3, jumping out to an early 8-3 lead and never looking back.
“In the third game, I think the girls had just had enough and they decided that they were going to fight to get that game,” Johnson said. “It helped in Game 1 and 2 that the girls didn’t give up. They didn’t just roll over and hand it to them. They kept fighting through it.”
Granstra dominated the third set, picked up eight of her 22 kills in the match.
“It’s what my team sees that helps me get my kills,” Granstra said. “It is more about my back row players being really good at calling out where my blocks are coming from. And I know where a tip would be open or where a hit would go down.”
The Lady Jays used three runs of three or more points on their way to victory in Game 3. MW had two aces and two ace blocks in the set, while Hulstein (eight kills, 23 digs, four aces, one block) and Kazemba picked up two kills a piece and Drooger (seven kills) added one of her own.
“They came out stronger,” Johnson said. “They came out more active right away. And they came out working together better and with more confidence in the third game.”
MW looked poised to force a fifth set, but the team could never quite pull far enough away from FF to secure the win.
“A few calls went wrong, Fergus Falls had a couple good plays, and that seemed to really get our girls down a little bit,” Johnson said. “They started to second guess themselves a little and weren’t quite as confident.”
With the game tied at 11, the Lady Jays fought hard to grab a 23-19 lead. However, the Spartans would not be denied, going on a six point run to finish off the Lady Jays.
“They did fight till the end,” Johnson said. “They tried to come out with a win; it just was a little tough for them.”
MW plays their last game of the season at Willmar against the Ridgewater Warriors and need to get a win to have a chance at a post season berth.
“We have to play like Game No. 3 the whole time,” Johnson said. “We’ve been a very consistant team most of the season. The last few games, we’ve been a little up and down. We need to make our play more even and stay up the whole match.”
Mara Eichenberger had 11 digs to go along with her 42 set assists for the Lady Jays, while Jes Hermeling had two aces on the night. Madie Rasche added 18 digs and Tiffany Gehl had two blocks.
Daily Globe Reporter Jordan Willi
may be reached at 376-7335.