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College volleyball: Lady Jays' loss to A-R stings

WORTHINGTON — Already on the bubble, the Minnesota West volleyball team needed a victory against visiting Anoka-Ramsey Friday night to avoid falling further into dangerous territory in its quest for a postseason berth. Only four teams in the Southern Division earn playoff positions, and the Lady Jays sat in sixth place among the eight teams.

The victory didn’t materialize. West lost 3-1 to the Golden Rams, falling in the first game 26-28, winning the second 25-12 and losing the last two 21-25 and 23-25.

“This was an important game for us,” said a subdued Jays coach Marie Johnson after the match. “Unfortunately, in Game One we came out a little sluggish. And in Game Three, we may have come out a little overconfident.”

That might have been understandable. The Rams came to Worthington without their top hitter, Jordan Meoning, who was ill. Coach Susan Hartfiel brought only eight players altogether into the Worthington High School gymnasium to face Minnesota West. So when the Lady Jays more than doubled Anoka-Ramsey’s score in the second game, that confident feeling may have been contagious.

But the Rams won two close games to even their overall record at 9-9 and their conference mark to 4-4, dropping West to 4-8 and 3-5.

Hartfiel said she put in an all-new lineup Friday, and it showed with several openings in the defense that Minnesota West was able to hit. Meanwhile, the Rams’ offense was inconsistent until the third and fourth games.

“The kids came through. We started catching them in the corner, but until we started doing that everything we put over, they put back. I told (our players) going in, (Minnesota West) can dig. They’re a good blocking team, too. I tell the kids, ‘Why do you hit into the block? They’re going to block you every time.”

West’s Christine Kazemba led the Lady Jays on offense with 14 kills while Hanna Bosma had 12 and Lindsey Drooger 111. Morgan Harberts had 33 set assists and Maddie Rasche two ace serves. Rasche was also credited with 18 digs. Brittney Hermeling had 13.

But the Lady Jays missed several serves on the evening, a fact Johnson lamented.

The Lady Jays’ nexty match is Wednesday at home against Riverland.