MCC claims second in Red Rock Conference
SLAYTON -- After dropping the first game of Tuesday night's volleyball match, the Murray County Central Rebels rallied to win three tightly-contested sets in a row to claim a four-game victory over Southwest Star Concept (18-25, 25-22, 28-26, 25-...
SLAYTON -- After dropping the first game of Tuesday night's volleyball match, the Murray County Central Rebels rallied to win three tightly-contested sets in a row to claim a four-game victory over Southwest Star Concept (18-25, 25-22, 28-26, 25-20) and secure second place in the Red Rock Conference standings.
MCC (21-7 overall) finishes with a 10-1 league record, while SSC (19-7) claimed third place with a 9-2 conference mark. Southwest Christian won the crown with a perfect 11-0 record.
"This was a great match, as both teams played hard with the conference runner-up trophy on the line," MCC head coach Donna Johansen said after the match. "We were scrappy defensively and adjusted well to the different hits and tips SSC put over the net. We also started to attack better as the match went along and pulled out a nail-biter in Game 3, which was a big key for us."
With the match tied at a game apiece, the pivotal third set started just like the previous two had -- as the teams battled to their third straight 14-14 tie.
MCC then scored four straight points to take an 18-14 lead, as Kate Robinson (15 digs, 10 kills, four ace blocks) slammed a pair of kills, and Samantha Kuechenmeister scored on an ace block to spark the Rebels.
SSC, though, came back to take a 21-20 lead on the strength of kills from Erika Post, Katey Granstra and Jenna Leopold, along with three straight ace serves by Bria Baumgard (42 digs).
The Quasars later led 23-21, but MCC scored three straight points and regained the lead at 24-23 when Emily Bose (10 kills, six ace blocks, 17-for-18 serving with 11 points) and Alyssa Schmidt (20 set assists, 17-for-17 serving with 11 points) teamed up to score on a block.
SSC's Maddie Collin (three blocks) answered with a kill before combining with Post on a block for a point to give the Quasars a 25-24 edge, but kills from Colleen Everson (27 digs, 20-for-22 serving with 13 points) and Bose gave the Rebels another game-point opportunity at 26-25.
A kill from Post (11 kills, three ace blocks, 16-for-17 serving with 11 points) again tied the game, but MCC closed out a 28-26 win after Robinson blasted two straight kills from the left side.
MCC then jumped out to a 6-2 advantage in Game 4, with Bose spiking two kills, and Schmidt serving an ace to fuel the Rebels.
Betsy Voehl (seven kills) knocked down a pair of kills to help SSC trim the gap to one (7-6), but two consecutive ace blocks from Robinson kept the Rebels in control with a 10-6 lead.
MCC maintained a lead of between three and five points until the Quasars pulled to within two (18-16) and then one (18-17) when Post hammered a pair of kills and delivered an ace serve.
However, Robinson scored on an ace tip to keep MCC in front, and the Rebels scored seven of the final 10 points to secure a 25-20 win -- closing out the thrilling four-game victory.
"It was a fun match, and we knew it was going to be a battle for every point," SSC head coach Crystal Fast said. "We were pretty successful when we attacked and hit the ball hard, but we were tentative for much of the night and did a lot of tipping over the blocks."
SSC scored the first two points of Game 1 on ace serves from Luanna Henkels, but MCC went on a 6-1 run go up 6-3. Stephanie Ahlschlager had an ace serve to jumpstart that run, while Bose scored twice on a kill and an ace tip.
The Quasars rallied to take leads of 7-6 and 12-9, and the match was later tied at 14 before SSC gained the first real separation of the night with an 8-1 surge that produced a 22-15 lead.
Collin had an ace block before Leopold (seven kills) and Post each delivered a kill to highlight that burst, and the Quasars stayed in command the rest of the game -- getting back-to-back kills from Post to close out a seven-point victory.
SSC started Game 2 with an early 5-2 lead, as an ace tip from Leopold, another service ace by Henkels (36 set assists, 33 digs, 19-for-19 serving with 10 points) and a kill from Collin sparked the Quasars.
MCC tied it at five on a kill by Robinson, and the score stayed close throughout, with the teams playing to several more tie scores (including 7-7, 9-9, 11-11, 12-12, 14-14, 17-17 and 19-19).
The Rebels then outscored SSC 6-3 down the stretch, getting two kills and an ace block from Robinson, and a kill and an ace block from Bose to knot the match at a game apiece.
Bose triggered a 5-1 start to Game 3 for the Rebels, pounding two kills and scoring on an ace block.
Voehl came back with three kills over the next sequence of six points to bring SSC within two (7-5). The Quasars later took a 13-11 lead with the help of two kills by Leopold, an ace serve by Baumgard and another kill from Voehl.
MCC then tied it at 14 on a kill from Kuechenmeister, and the Rebels scored four more points to take an 18-14 lead -- setting up the exciting finish to Game 3.
Elissa Reinsma had 23 digs for MCC, which is off until next Friday night, when the Rebels will play either Fulda or Hills-Beaver Creek in the Section 3A South tournament.
SSC visits Worthington Thursday.