By PATRICK SLACK
The Pierz volleyball team swept its second match in a row to open the season, Tuesday, this time defeating host Crosby-Ironton 25-19, 25-16, 25-22.
Senior Bridget Bednar powered the Pioneers offense with 19 kills and six blocks, followed by senior Tiara Hopkins with seven kills and junior Raychel Virnig with five.
Junior Jessica Hawks posted 31 set assists and four service aces and Virnig had a team-high 10 digs.
Verndale 3, Swanville 1
Swanville nearly dug itself out of a quick two-set hole to force a decisive fifth set, but ultimately fell short to visiting Verndale 25-15, 25-12, 13-25, 25-21, Tuesday.
The Bulldogs had difficulty containing Verndale in the early stages of the match, until following up a rotation error with an eight-point run to go ahead 9-1 en route to running away with the third set.
The fourth set went back and forth, with Swanville seizing an early 9-5 edge, before Verndale went ahead late.
The Bulldogs knotted the score at 21-21, but Verndale scored the final four points to eke out the win.
Senior Ashley Maciej led the Swanville defense with 15 digs while going a perfect 12-for-12 serving.
Junior Danica Hanson had four kills and six assists, senior Amanda Rieffer had three kills and sophomore Haileigh Sales had two kills and six assists.
Kimball Area 3, Royalton 2
Royalton bounced back after dropping the first two sets to send the match the distance, but visiting Kimball Area survived with a 25-16, 25-14, 18-25, 16-25, 18-16 win, Tuesday.
Junior Jenna Skajewski led the defense with 18 digs, with senior Emily Fussy recording 16 and junior Abby Duevel adding 15.
Junior Haley Olson set up the offense with 26 set assists while also contributing four kills, with Fussy adding 11 kills and two blocks.
Holdingford 3, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 0
After sweating out a close first set, Holdingford had a slightly easier time in the next two sets polishing off a sweep over host Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (LPGE), Tuesday, 25-23, 25-19, 25-18.
Senior Samantha Maciej had a team-high five kills and 13 digs to lead the Huskers.
Eden Valley-Watkins 3, Upsala 1
Upsala pulled out a close first set, but host Eden Valley-Watkins (EVW) regrouped to earn a 21-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-12 win, Tuesday.
Junior Danica Cheney and sophomore Kiley Smieja led the Cardinals’ offense, with Cheney recording nine kills and Smieja delivering six kills and seven blocks.
Junior Brooke Westrich and Cheney tied for a team-high 13 digs, while junior Kristin Wuebkers contributed 18 set assists, five digs and three service aces.