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HL-O/F sweeps A/E in volleyball, but Dragons finish with fire

There was something for everybody Thursday night in Adrian. The Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda high school volleyball team kept its perfect record alive against Red Rock Conference opponents, and the Adrian/Ellsworth Dragons nearly marred that record by winning the third set.

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HLO-F Coyotes celebrate a point against host Adrian/ Ellsworth Dragons Thursday night (from Left) Anna Fest, Emily Madison,Taryn Evers, Hailey VandenBosch and Chrissy Hermeling. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

ADRIAN -- There was something for everybody Thursday night in Adrian.

The Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda high school volleyball team kept its perfect record alive against Red Rock Conference opponents, and the Adrian/Ellsworth Dragons nearly marred that record by winning the third set.

It was a straight-set victory for the visiting Coyotes on scores of 25-22, 25-16 and 25-22. With the win, they improved their season’s record to 14-4.

“We’re completely undefeated in the conference,” coach Trista Rhubee pointed out after the match. “We have not lost a set. We’ve only lost to state-ranked teams. And I feel we continue to get better.”

For a while, it looked as if the HL-O/F sweep would come easier than it actually did. The deciding third set was as tight as can be early, tied 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7 and 8-8, but the Coyotes then began to pull away to 12-8. It was 19-15 before the Dragons began to breathe fire.

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Adrian/ Ellsworth Dragons Sadie Krahling (10) leaps to the net to slam a spike between HLO-F Coyotes Sophie King (9) and Irish Hollahan (5) as Dragan's Labaro Mayssa Tweet (1) and Josi Altman follow the play Thursday night. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

A soft ace hit by Sadie Krahling made it 19-16 and a hit into the net by HL-O-F’s Madelyn Schumacher made it 19-17, and with that the Coyotes had to regroup with a time-out. The next point went A/E’s way again as HL-O/F missed a disputed ball at the net. It soon became 20-20 on a hard Katarina Polzine ace hit just inside the left out-of-bounds line, prompting another HL-O/F time-out.

Finally, the Coyotes ended it on an Anna Fest ace hit, after scoring five of the last seven points.

Adrian/Ellsworth fell to 7-8 on the season, but it might have been the team’s best performance of the year.

“We needed to (finish strong),” said Dragons senior libero Mayssa Tweet, who has been with the varsity long enough to remember when they were good enough to go to state. “It’s been a roller-coaster season so far. It was good to come back, especially against such a strong team.

“I’d say we’re very inconsistent,” she summed up the season thus far. “We’re very young. It’s not even being young, really, it’s about coming together as a team.”

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Adrian/Ellsworth's Julia Bullerman (6) spikes the ball as HLO-F Coyotes Anna Fest (8) and Taryn Evers (7) leap to meet the shot Thursday night in Adrian. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

Tweet led Adrian/Ellsworth with 22 digs. Julia Bullerman and Krahling had eight and seven kills, respectively. Josi Altman and Karly Kruse had 15 and 14 set assists, respectively. And Madeline Wagner was 18-for-18 serving with one ace.

Taryn Evers, a 6-2 senior middle hitter, was consistently strong at the front line for HL-O/F. She uses her length well, hitting down hard on the ball, and she’s equally adept at making soft tips for points. She finished with 15 kills and six blocks.

Samantha Untiedt had 13 kills and Ellyson Bang contributed 36 set assists. Emma Rasche had 20 digs and Bang had 19. Chrissy Hermeling was 18-for-19 with two aces at the service line and Untiedt was 17-1or-17 with two aces.

The Coyotes didn’t have a full lineup for the match. Just before it was due to begin, sophomore hitter Marissa Becker was injured in warmups and was unable to play.

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Adrian/Ellsworth volleyball players gather together for a short strategy session Thursday night in a match against Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

Despite that, Rhubee was pleased with her team’s effort.

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“I think our defense did a good job getting up some great hits at Adrian. And our blocking at the net -- we stopped a lot,” she said.

The Coyotes take a lot of pride in the way they’ve handled Red Rock Conference teams, Rhubee said.

“That’s how we are,” she explained.

On the other side, Tweet testified that win or lose, the Dragons play hard to the end.

“Yeah, keep fighting. Because honestly, we haven’t got a lot to lose right now,” she promised. “We have everything to gain.”

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALL
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