Lizzy Gillingham stretches out to save the ball.

'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee'

Vikings add another knotch with win over KMS

After coming through the “heart of the schedule” in good shape, the Minneota Viking girls’ volleyball team has entered a “zone” of sorts, against teams with losing records.

This past week they beat 1-17 Renville County West, 3-0, and on Tuesday stopped Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, (7-9), 3-0. Before they embark for the always tough Apple Valley Tournament October 13 and 14, they will play Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, Yellow Medicine East and Lakeview, who have a combined record of 25-27.

The Vikings are 16-4 on the year and 7-1 in the tough Camden Conference South. In the North Camden, only one team has a winning record.

MACCRAY leads with a 6-2 mark. Everyone else is below .500 In the south, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton is 8-0; Canby 7-1 and Minneota 7-1.

Minneota 3, Kerkhoven-M-S 0

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

The great boxer Muhammad Ali coined that phrase and backed it up with vicious punches.

Tuesday night Minneota stung Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in the first two games, 25-10 and 25-8 — but like a bee making it’s sting — the stinger is gone shortly after the sting. It did disappear — and the Vikings had to hang on for a 25-23 win in the third set. The final set was a struggle from start to finish.

“One thing we need to work on as a team is our intensity. We struggle with playing our level at all times,” said Coach Hayley Fruin.

“We can start out slow sometimes. Tonight we started out strong, but couldn’t finish with the same focus and intensity. We need to get better at that if we want to make a run come section time,” the coach added.

The Vikings stayed just barely ahead the entire match — but couldn’t get a rhythm going — and certainly didn’t have any sting left. Midway through the set Lydia Sussner, with some help from Sydney Larson, began to rattle the Fighting Saints at the net.

But it was still only 19-17 when Sussner hit a smashing blow from the right side, then slammed the ball over the net for the 25-23 win. Before that, the Vikings dominated and did just about anything they wanted. With Lizzy Gillingham serving and Jennifer Krog commanding the net, the Vikings built a 15-0 lead, then coasted to a 25-10 win — out scoring KMS 10-1 the rest of the way.

Abby Hennen turned magician in the back row and Gillingham and Sussner closed it out with two powerful kills. The second set was even easier. Natalee Rolbiecki began banging away at the net with soft and hard kills and the Vikings were ahead 16-3 with Ellie Pesch serving seven straight points with Sussner and Gillingham joining in the fun with slams at the net.

“Natalee (Rolbiecki) had a great game. She continues to improve each game. She can play in multiple positions so it is nice to have that option, if needed. She really came out tonight and took smart shots.”

“She keeps the ball in play and finds the open court,” said Coach Fruin. Morgan Kockelman served five straight points and Sussner put the exclamation point on the second game with two powerful kills. Sussner ended with a game-leading 19 kills and Rolbiecki landed 10.

According to Coach Fruin, “Overall, the girls’ motivation has been great. From the past years’ experience it can be hard to keep girls motivated during the middle of the season.”

“We just continue to push them at practice and do not allow for bad habits to be created from lack of motivation or effort.”

Kerkhoven-M-S 10 8 23 Minneota 25 25 25 DIGS: Abby Hennen 21; Lizzy Gillingham 18; Ellie Pesch 8; Morgan Hennen 7.

SET ASSISTS: Morgan Kockelman 44.

SERVING: (No., good, aces) Pesch 17-17-1; Abby Hennen 9-9-0; Morgan Hennen 13-13-1.

KILLS: Lydia Sussner 19; Natalee Rolbiecki 10; Gillingham 8; Jennifer Krog 5; Sydney Larson 3.

BLOCKS: Sussner 2; Rolbiecki, Krog, Gillingham 1 each.

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