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Quasars shine brightest

OKABENA -- The Red Rock Conference volleyball match between Southwest Star Concept and Edgerton was everything it was billed to be -- until Game 4. Leading two games to one, the Quasars carried over the momentum they stole in Game 3 to blast past...

OKABENA -- The Red Rock Conference volleyball match between Southwest Star Concept and Edgerton was everything it was billed to be -- until Game 4. Leading two games to one, the Quasars carried over the momentum they stole in Game 3 to blast past the Flying Dutchmen in the fourth, winning the match 21-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-8.

With the victory, the Quasars remain perfect in the conference at 3-0 (4-4 overall), while the loss drops Edgerton to 3-1 in conference play (4-3 overall).

Middle hitter Linnea Henkels led the Quasars offense with a team-high 21 kills. SSC had six other players record four or more kills on the night.

"Linnea is always our leading attacker, but a lot of times she gets 20 (kills) and no one else gets more than two," SSC head coach Rick Haberman said following the match. "Tonight we had a very well-balanced attack -- which is tough to defend."

Chelsey Cranston served as playmaker for SSC, posting 45 set assists. Place, who kept the Flying Dutchmen on their heels with her line-drive serves, was 22-for-22 from behind the service line with 15 points. Cranston was 18-of-19 with 14 points.

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Defensively, Chelsey Knutson and Shannon Hussong led the team with 25 and 23 digs, respectively, while Adri Rasche had three solo blocks.

Senior middle hitter Amy Kallemeyn led the Edgerton attack with 16 kills, followed by Karli Decker with 12. Alexa Vanden Bosch had 30 set assists on the night.

Maricia Pick led Edgerton in serving, going 18-for-18 for 12 points, while Alyson Drooger scored 10 points on her serve. Heather Van Kley posted three solo blocks for the Flying Dutchmen.

After winning the tightest game of the match 26-24, the Quasars pounced on the Flying Dutchmen to open Game 4. Behind the serving of Place, SSC grabbed a quick 7-0 advantage and never looked back. Junior middle hitter Michelle Olsem, who had come off the bench toward the end of Game 3 to help spark the offense, continued her tough play at the net with three thumping blows off the block.

"I felt pretty good out there tonight," Olsem said. "I was hoping to give my best effort and add to the offense. Our defense played a great game and did a good job keeping the ball off the ground."

Hussong got into the act with back-to-back kills, and Henkels put the match away with another punishing rip down the heart of the Edgerton defense.

"They (SSC) really used their speed to get around our block attempts tonight," Edgerton head coach Randy Butson said. "We were commenting (on the bench) on how difficult it was to block them tonight, and they did a good job of attacking the right side."

Edgerton was the more aggressive team to open the match, using its size at the net to quickly jump out to a 7-0 lead in Game 1. Having several attacks stuffed back in their faces, the Quasars made an adjustment and started to tip or push the ball into holes in the Edgerton defense -- pulling back to within three points for the remainder of the game.

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Although they lost the first game, the Quasars played tough down the stretch and gave notice to Edgerton that they weren't about to roll over.

The Quasars fed Henkels throughout Game 2 as the senior was sliding to the side of the block before connecting with the ball. When Kallemeyn or Van Kley was there for the block, Henkels and company found the floor with well-placed tips.

Edgerton, mimicking its effort in Game 1, bounced out to a sizable lead in Game 3. A quick timeout by Haberman settled the Quasars down a bit and SSC slowly climbed back into the contest. While Henkels traded blows with Kallemeyn and Decker, Rasche and Olsem kept picking away at the Edgerton defense.

Tied at 23-all, Knutson smacked a shot off the block to give the Quasars a game point. But Cranston's serve was long -- tying the game at 24-all. Unfortunately for the Flying Dutchmen, Kallemeyn's serve was also long, giving SSC another game point. This time, Knutson made no mistake, hitting an ace serve to give the Quasars the game.

"Our offensive balance and scrappy defensive play were the keys tonight," Haberman said. "Our serving at the end was also very strong."

SSC travels to Ellsworth Thursday, while Edgerton hosts Red Rock Central.

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