Upsala falls to conference leader Osakis, tops WCA
By TYLER OHMANN
After falling in a 2-0 set hole, Sept. 30, it looked like the Swanville Bulldogs were about to get upset on their own court to a plucky Royalton team.
However, Swanville coach Kerie Thoma looked around her huddle after that game, and knew the girls would fight back.
“When we came into the huddle after the second game, I could read a change in my players’ eyes that told me we were in for the duration of the night,” Thoma said. “Then we came out and played well. We passed better, set better and attacked better, which gave us the confidence to take into the next two games with them.”
They came back better indeed.
Swanville won game three convincingly 25-13. It was closer in the fourth set with the Bulldogs gaining the final advantage 25-22. Finally, a close fifth set again leaned Swanville’s way 15-13.
“Royalton is a very scrappy team and has strong outside hitting,” Thoma said. “They have a good setter and they flow nicely together. It is always a ‘friendly rivalry’ when we play them, whether it is at home or on the road, and it was nice to see us come back from a deficit and show each other we can play with larger schools.”
The Bulldogs were led by senior Danica Hanson who smashed home a game-high 17 kills. Fellow senior Stephanie Koetter had 13 kills to go along with eight blocks.
For the Royals, Brandi Kloss was strong up front with seven kills and four blocks. Senior Abby Duevel had 26 digs and 13 kills in the loss.
Swanville played to another victory in a Sept. 25 battle against LPGE. The Bulldogs won 3-1 as Simone Brittner went 16/16 from the service line.
Ashlie Kaun added eight kills and four blocks, while Haleigh Sales had 29 set-assists and four blocks.
At the Pierz Classic Sept. 27, the Bulldogs also found some success in the way of a fourth place finish.
They won pool matches against Floodwood (2-0) and Holdingford (2-0) to advance to the championship bracket.
However, in that round they fell to Mabel-Canton, and then lost again in the third place match against Henning.
Koetter finished with 33 kills and eight blocks, while Sales had a tournament-best 96 set-assists. Hanson added 32 kills and seven blocks.
Swanville is now 9-6 overall and 5-2 in the Prairie Conference.
The Royals too found some mixed results in matches earlier in the week.
On Sept. 25 the Royals fell 3-1 to a strong Browerville squad.
The Royals nabbed game one 25-23, but Browerville came back to win 25-18, 25-18 and 25-9 in the final three sets.
Royalton bounced back Sept. 29, with a 3-1 win of their own over Eden Valley-Watkins.
EVW won the first game 25-18, but the Royals ran the table after that winning, 26-24, 29-27 and 25-17.
Kloss had 14 kills to lead the Royals, while senior Haley Olson had 33 set-assists and 17 digs.
Royalton is 7-8 overall and 3-4 in Prairie Conference play this season.
Silver Streaks shoot
Undefeated in Prairie Conference play, Osakis used their home court to top upstart Upsala 3-0 Sept. 30.
The Silver Streaks won games 25-8, 25-15 and 25-22 to defeat the Cardinals.
Cardinals leaders included Brooke Westrich, who had six kills and nine digs.
Sara Herzog had nine digs as well for Upsala.
The Cardinals did earn a 3-0 victory Sept. 25 over West Central Area.
Upsala won games 25-20, 25-17 and 25-22 to defeat the Knights.
Kiley Smieja led the Cardinals with seven kills and five blocks. Mariah Prokott added 17 digs in the victory.
Upsala is now 12-4 overall and 5-2 in Prairie Conference play.