The Barnesville volleyball team traveled to Pelican Rapids for a Section 8AA first round playoff match against the Vikings on Wednesday night. “We had just matched up with the Vikings a couple weeks ago and fell short in a back-and-forth 5-set battle,” noted Barnesville Head Coach Megan Askegaard. “We knew that we were going to have to make a couple changes from the last time we played them in order to make sure we put up a fight with a strong Pelican Rapids team.” The match went 4 sets this time around with the Vikings prevailing 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 25-18).
“Both teams really came out to play tonight in a fun playoff atmosphere,” said Coach Askegaard. “We knew that we needed to play a very clean game. They have a couple of great players that swing big on the net, as well as a very talented libero who gets to many balls in the backcourt.”
Here is Coach Askegaard’s summary of the match, set by set.
Both teams had some lineup changes and switches in their game plan from our first encounter. We passed our first ball a little off the target tonight, but our setters did a nice job making adjustments and putting our hitters up across the net to give us our strongest attacking options. We played from behind for the majority of the first set with Abby John putting down some big kills in the middle that helped keep things close against a tough PR defense with Morgan Korf picking up everything that came at her in the backcourt. We really talked about how we needed to keep the ball away from her and make some of the other Vikings play defense. We had too many 3rd contact errors and balls coming off our block and making it difficult to pick them up on defense. We traded points back and forth throughout the first set and really served them tough. A couple attacking and blocking errors near the end of the set really hurt as the set was getting closer to being over. We just needed to eliminate a couple mistakes down the stretch and push to get to 25.
We had a little slow start in the second set after falling just short in set one. We were behind early when Lexi Hoeft went back to the serving line and scored on back to back aces that gave us a 8-6 lead before a ball came off our blockers hands and landed on our side. Our offense worked hard by changing up the hard attacking with some soft tipping to the holes in the PR defense. We were able to hang on to a couple point lead throughout the majority of the set, until PR tied the set at 16. They moved the ball well and Anna Roisum was tough to defend up in the middle and on the outside. Our blockers needed to make some adjustments and slow her ball down for our backcourt defenders. We were so close near the end of the set but this has been our struggle for the majority of the season. We really needed to dig in and push to the finish when we were right there. Both teams really battled it out until the final ball landed on our side through our blockers hands.
We knew we needed to come out strong and get this set or we would be going home tonight. Some strong serving by Elisabeth Mulcahy gave us a nice lead at the start 5-1 before PR put down a kill in our defense. We made too many errors on serve receive and defense and PR went on a nice run to go up 5-7. We were able to find Aubryn Hinsz on the outside and she laid down a couple nice attacks that made the PR defense really work. Smart serving by Mulcahy, Hoeft, and John along with a huge block and kill over the net from Ashley Maneval gave us the momentum we needed to work hard to come out on top in this set. We passed much better in this set and were able to run our offense on the net with all 3 attackers as options. We played smart and took control of this set. It was a great win and a hard fought set after dropping the first two sets.
Again we just didn’t come out with enough momentum that we needed after coming off of a big win in set 3. I was really looking for a little more intensity from the girls and we just seemed a little flat and back on our heels. We didn’t communicate and let a couple balls drop in our serve receive early and that really hurt us. We were forced to play from behind, which is hard to do when we needed another win to continue playing all the way into a 5th set. We really made too many mistakes on our 3rd contact and our block. The girls were working so hard for every point that they earned. We made a nice little run when we were down 13-21 however it just was a lot of ground to make up. Amelia did a nice job setting up the block and came out with a nice solo block and then went back to serve 4 balls at the Vikings before they were able to side out.
The Trojans were led by Kenadee Gray (14/14 serving, 37 digs, 3 kills), Abby John (13/13 serving, 1 ace, 12 kills, 2 solo blocks), Lexi Hoeft (13/14 serving, 2 aces, 9 kills, 8 digs), Lydia Braton (10/10 serving, 2 kills), Amelia Newell (16/18 serving, 23 set assists, 6 kills, 6 digs), Elisabeth Mulcahy (9/10 serving, 2 aces, 3 digs), Aubryn Hinsz (11 kills, 6 digs) and Sophie Frederick (15 set assists).
“We had a great season and I am proud of all the girls and how much they grew over the course of the season,” concluded Askegaard. “We are thankful for our seniors who led us this season and wish them the best next year.”