Lydia Sussner smashes the ball at RTR,

Off the bench to help out

During the long volleyball season when you're team is rolling to a 21-1 record and 10-0 conference start, it's not easy to keep players in the flow, having fun.

But Thursday night Coach Hayley Fruin found a way as Minneota rolled over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 3-0 by scores of 25-11; 25-10 and 25-15.

One by one she interspersed players off the bench into the fray on the court.

It began when she started senior Brooklyn Nelson into the starting lineup on Parent's Night.

Sydney Larson followed and nailed down six kills at the net.

Meanwhile, Lydia Sussner and Natalee Rolbiecki were keeping the RTR defense honest with 13 hard kills apiece.

In the second game, with Minneota up 17-6, the coach put Ali DeVlaeminck into the game. She responded with a hit from the corner, bringing the Minneota bench to their feet in loud ovation. Here teammates mobbed her and rubbed her head as a huge smile crossed her face.

It was DeVlaeminck's first kill and she went on to two more before she was finished.

Finally, in came reserve Madison Sorenson. And with Minneota up 24-10, Sorenson pushed the ball over the net, it landed for the 25th point of the game and she was mobbed by her teammates.

It was a fitting way to inject a little excitement into the contest.

Minneota had little trouble scoring after Lizzy Gillingham rolled off nine straight serves to open game one with an 11-1 lead.

RTR tried to counter with sophomore Haley Muenchow, but she didn't have enough help to make a difference.

Rachel Vlaminck came off the bench to mind the net, Abby Rost got chances to serve and Ellie Pesch brought her back row skills to the court — all off the bench.

Meanwhile, The Vikings ran into a little trouble in the third game. After taking a 5-1 lead, they allowed RTR to get back in the game at 8-6.

It took Rolbiecki slamming down three kills, three more by Gillingham, four by Larson and three more by Sussner to finally pull away from RTR.

The Knights found themselves close at 15-9, using the hitting of Kalleigh Carr and Muenchow at the net, but couldn't respond once Minneota unleased their four-prong firepower.

Afterall, Minneota had thrown everything they had at the Knights, including the bench.

KILLS: Lydia Sussner and Natalee Rolbiecki 13 each and Sydney Larson and Lizzy Gillingham 6.

SERVES: (No., good., aces)  Abby Hennen 14-14-1; Lizzy Gillingham 23-23-2; Morgan Hennen 10-10-0.

DIGS: Abby Hennen 15; Ellie Pesch 11.

BLOCKS : Lydia Sussner 5

SET ASSISTS: Morgan Kockelman 49



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