Grand Meadow edges out Cardinals in five

Published 12:56 am Friday, September 19, 2008

In a battle of two of the SEC’s top volleyball teams, it was the visiting Superlarks who came out on top in five-game thriller over LeRoy/Ostrander in LeRoy Thursday.

Grand Meadow (11-5 overall, 5-0 SEC) won the first two games 25-19, 25-23, dropped the next two 23-25, 21-25, and won the deciding game 15-13.

The Cardinals (10-5 overall, 5-2 SEC) led the fifth game 11-10 after a kill by Maggie Olson, but GM setter Kristine Gerber, who had 32 assists and 10 kills, spiked down the 13th and 15th points to put it away for the Superlarks.

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None of the points came easy for GM as L/O’s back row of Mary Scaglione, who had 25 digs, and Rachel Rosedahl, who had 23 digs, made plenty of highlight plays.

“They’re gonna come at you and pick up a lot of balls that you think would drop, but we were able to rebound and keep hitting,” GM head coach Michael Keefe said.

Gerber said the Superlarks refocused after dropping two straight games to the Cardinals.

“It was tough, but we kept our heads up,” she said.

Game five was just one of many close battles on the night. The Larks almost stole the fourth game after Jessica Benson served back-to-back aces to make it 23-21 Cards, but a sideout by Grand Meadow and a kill by L/O’s Alana Roe ended it.

“They’re very scrappy. We just kept at it and kept swinging hard,” said Benson, who had 25 kills and 13 digs. “We’ve been waiting for this one all year. This is the game we wanted to win.”

Game three was tied at 23 after an ace by Grand Meadow’s Alex Swanson. But Swanson missed her next serve out of bounds and Kylie Grant, who had 18 digs, served an ace to end the game for the Cards.

The missed serve was one of 14 serving miscues by GM, while L/O only had two serving errors.

“We overcame our missed serves with good passing and hitting,” Keefe said.

L/O’s head coach Lisa Swenson was pleased with how her team came back, but said it needed to do a better job at the net.

“We had trouble attacking against their front line, but we showed a lot of resolve by coming back,” Cardinal head coach Lisa Swenson said. “We need to work on our blocking.”

The second game was tied at 22 after a kill by L/O’s Toni Blood, who had 15 kills on the night, but Benson spiked down three of the game’s last four points to put it away. GM jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the second game, but the Cards had a rally that was highlighted by Rosedahl blocking a spike, and then coming up with a kill of her own on the same sequence to make it 15 apiece.

Although she led the team in hitting, Benson’s lanes were open due to the hitting Gerber and Abbie Fay, who had 13 kills.

“The juniors have really stepped up for us this year,” Benson said. “Abbie Fay has been unbelievable and Kristine Gerber is getting more consistent.”

Keefe said the win over the Cardinals will help the Superlarks prepare for Mabel/Canton next week.

“This is huge for us,” he said. “It’s a big confidence builder going into next Tuesday’s match with Mabel/Canton.”

The Cardinals will host Spring Grove Tuesday.

Mac Bunne had 42 assists for L/O, Kaylee Bunne had 14 kills and four blocks, Olson had eight kills, and Krista Bunne had eight kills and two blocks.

Bailey Gomer had 22 assists for GM.