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Windom rallies, advances in VB with 3-1 win over H-BC

WINDOM -- Utilizing an assortment of versatile players -- several who were playing different positions than they have been accustomed to -- the top-seeded Windom Area Eagles prevailed with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over eighth-seeded Hills-Beaver...

Windom Vs Hills 4 web.jpg
The Windom Eagles bench erupts after winning the first set in South Sub-Section 3A Tournament action in Windom. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

WINDOM - Utilizing an assortment of versatile players - several who were playing different positions than they have been accustomed to - the top-seeded Windom Area Eagles prevailed with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over eighth-seeded Hills-Beaver Creek in the South Sub-Section 3A high school volleyball tournament Friday night.

Two of the four games went to extra points, each lasting for more than 30 minutes, with the Eagles winning both of those. H-BC rallied from a seven-point deficit to win the second game and Windom - after rallying to win the third set - was dominant in the fourth.

Game scores were 28-26, 22-25, 29-27 and 25-8.                        

“I am so proud of our girls and how they persevered,” declared Eagles head coach Crystal Fast. “We were down by five points, 23-18, in that third game but we battled back and came out on top. We had so many players contribute, and they all showed a lot of heart and determination.”

Effectively getting the ball to 6-0 junior middle hitter Katelyn Nichols (25 kills, seven in the fourth set), Windom enjoyed its moments at the net, as did the Patriots - who were led up front by stellar all-around senior athlete Sidney Fick (16 kills, nine digs and 21-of-22 serving with two aces).                                               

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“Those two really went at it,” said H-BC head coach Amanda Rozeboom about the battles at the net between Fick and Nichols. “There were some awesome hits by both middle hitters.”

During a Patriot surge in the 31-minute long third game, Fick blocked Nichols twice in a row before finishing the rally with a hard kill down the middle that gave the H-BC a 24-23 edge.

The Eagles, however, would not let the Patriots get a two-point advantage, holding them at game point and knotting the score four consecutive times before a backset from Reegan Elder (28 set assists, five digs) to Autumn Hauge (11 kills) gave Windom a 28-27 edge.

An ace serve by Victoria Christoffer(eight kills, 14-of-serving with two aces) completed the pivotal third-set rally for the Eagles, who were playing on the home court for the first time since Sept. 20.

Windom (22-7) was also playing without ace middle hitter Becca Hacker (illness) and has played without all-around contributor Maurissa Isaacs (ACL) for several weeks.

“Our kids are making adjustments and getting used to playing different spots in our rotations,” summed up Fast. “That’s something we need to use when games go so long like the first and third sets did tonight.”

The first set lasted 34 minutes before the Eagles pulled out a 28-26 victory, clinched by an Elder set to Christoffer for the final kill.

Windom appeared to be winning Game 2, as Nichols (eight solo blocks) was a force at the net and Hauge delivered a middle slam and an ace serve during an 11-4 run that built a 17-10 lead.

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The Patriots, who finished a fine season with 16-11 record, battled back with an impressive 15-5 surge of their own to claim a three-point triumph (25-22) and even the match at 1-1.

“I was very proud of how our girls played those first three games,” praised Rozeboom. “We came out on fire, really pumped up and had our share of highlights. We just ran out of steam a bit in the fourth game after not being able to win that third one.”

Whitney Elbers (nine kills, six blocks), Abby Knobloch (15-of-15 serving, five kills), Kailey Rozeboom (31 set assists), Grace Bundesen (16-of-16 serving, five digs) and Madison Spath (four digs) were among the statistical contributors for H-BC.

Hauge (22-of-23) and Paige Pigman (18-of-20) each delivered a trio of ace serves for the Eagles, with Pigman finishing off the fourth set with three in a row.

Ella Brockman (seven kills) was also a force at the net for the Eagles, while Halle Jackson (13 set assists, seven digs), Shelby Erickson (seven digs) and Pigman (five digs) each came up with needed defensive efforts for the Eagles, who advance to play fourth-seeded Red Rock Central in the semifinals at Worthington Tuesday. The first serve is scheduled for 6 p.m.

 

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