Packers cruise on senior night

Published 10:28 pm Monday, October 13, 2008

The seniors made big plays on senior night for the Austin volleyball team in a win over United South Central by scores of 25-22, 25-14, 22-25, 25-20 in Packer Gym Monday.

Jolene Brody closed out the deciding game with three straight kills to hold off a USC team that had pulled to within 22-20 after trailing by as many as seven.

“I felt like we just needed to step up and close it out before they got any closer,” said Brody, a senior who had 18 kills and 20 digs in the win. “Nichelle (Grage) and Ellen (Ettinger) put it exactly where I wanted it and I just put it down.”

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As Austin (13-9 overall) won the first two games, Ettinger said she had some flashbacks to last year’s match with USC (10-3 overall).

“I was nervous because last year they won the first two and we came back to win the next three,” she said. “I was hoping that’s not gonna happen to us this year.”

Ettinger helped Austin get off to a strong start when she served eight straight points, which included two aces, to put Austin up 18-10 in the second game. USC had led 10-9 early in the game. She served five straight points — including three aces — to put the Packers up 12-7 in the third game.

“Our coach told us that she had heard from a different team that sometimes if you just serve it hard at them they’ve had problems returning it,” said Ettinger, who was 23-for-24 on serves with five aces and 25 assists. “I just tried to do that.”

The Packers led the first game 10-7, before USC rallied to take a five-point lead. Austin’s middle hitter Rebekah Aase came up with a few strong attacks before making a kill to put Austin up 20-19 and her team held on.

“I think there were quite a few offspeed shots that we weren’t ready for early in the match,” Austin head coach Darica Schneider said. “We were ready for the abusive hits like we had against Mayo Thursday, but they came shorter.”

Ciara Christensen had 40 assists for the Rebels, Linsdey Dahl had 14 kills and three blocks, and Sabrina Buschlack had 18 kills.

Austin will head to Mankato East for its regular season finale Tuesday. The Packers are tied with the Cougars, Century and Faribault for third place in the Big Nine with a 4-4 conference record.

“It’s kind of a big match to see where we’re gonna go in sections. It’s a big night for us,” Schneider said.

The Section 1AAA Tournament starts Wednesday, Oct. 22.