Packer volleyball team shows some fight in loss to Huskies

Published 9:54 pm Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Austin volleyball team made Owatonna work for a three-game sweep in Packer Gym Thursday night.

The first two games went down to the wire, but the Huskies (3-1 overall, 1-0 Big Nine) prevailed by scores of 25-23, 25-20, 25-16.

Austin (1-2 overall, 0-1 Big Nine) was within 24-23 late in the first game and they only trailed 21-19 late in the second game.

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“I think we proved that we are a team to hang in there,” Austin head coach Darica Schneider said. “I don’t think we are intimidated. We’ve got big hitters and big blockers.”

The Huskies closed out the first game when Jordan Spatenka smashed one cross court to close it out. Austin had led 17-14 early in the first game after an ace serve by Rebekah Aase and a kill by Bri Mayer, but Owatonna scored six of the next seven points to take the lead back.

“Austin’s much improved and Aase is a big hitter for them,” Owatonna head coach Rodney Nakagaki said. “They had us confused in the first game and I think they’ll be right in the thick of things in the Big Nine.”

In the second game, the Huskies closed out with a kill by Kelsey Johnson.

“We struggled in the reception area and we plugged some people in,” Schneider said. “It’s hard to come in against Owatonna and tell someone to go do it.”

Aase was a force up front for Austin as she came up with eight solo ace blocks, and six digs. But she had just five kills as the Owatonna defense focused on her and Jolene Brody, who had 10 kills and nine digs.

“They had one girl follow Rebekah and one girl follow Jolene and we sort of did the same thing. We knew Spatenka and (Bethany) Thompson were gonna be big for them so we kept people on them,” Schneider said.

Nichelle Grage had 13 assists for Austin, and Mayer had four ace blocks.

Spatenka had 12 kills for Owatonna and Thompson had 13 kills. Taryn Anderson had 12 digs and five ace serves.

The Packers play in the Mankato Invite this Saturday.