By Tyler Ohmann
Area Prairie Conference teams collided and rivalries flared.
When the dust settled, Royalton earned a conference title with an eighth straight win.
The Royals swept Upsala in three close games Royalton, Tuesday.
Royalton won 25-21, 25-22 and 25-22 over the Cardinals.
Sophomore Emily Malikowski led the Royals, who were without starting setter Cierra Gottwalt, with 15 assists and an impressive seven aces.
Fellow sophomore Jenna Anderson had a team-high 10 kills and four blocks.
The win improved Royalton to 8-0 in the conference and 14-4 overall, as the Royals had beaten Osakis, 3-1, Sept. 28.
In that one, the lone blemish was a 19-25 loss in the first set. Royalton dominated the next two and won 26-24 in a deciding set four.
Malikowski was again strong with five aces on 21-of-23 serves. She also added 17 digs. Anderson came off the bench to lead the Royals with 12 kills.
Upsala on the other hand, lost a rivalry match at Swanville, Sept. 28.
The Cardinals appeared to be poised for victory after winning the first set 25-21 and the third 25-19 with a 25-22 Swanville win sandwiched between.
However, the momentum shifted to the Bulldogs in the fourth set, which they won big, 25-9.
Despite a strong effort, Swanville hung on to beat Upsala 15-13 in the fifth set to split the season series.
Swanville senior Crystal Kaun had a team-best 14 kills, and junior Avery Jackson had 10.
Upsala was led by senior Stefani Pohlmann’s 10 kills and 16 digs. Sophomore Laura Lange had 18 digs and seven kills.
Swanville also won a conference match, 3-0, over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Tuesday.
The Bulldogs cruised to wins of 25-18, 25-11 and 25-14 over the Thunder.
Junior Grace Schultz went for a team-best six kills, while fellow junior Hannah Schneider had three service aces.
The champion Royals, winners of seven straight, will travel to play at Holdingford, Tuesday.
Upsala (4-9, 3-5 in PC) are at Kimball, Monday. Swanville (9-7, 4-4) will host Browerville-Eagle Valley, Tuesday.