Rebels volleyball team beats Albert Lea in five games

Published 11:14 pm Monday, August 31, 2009

ADAMS — When it mattered most, the Rebels played their best volleyball of the night.

Southland rallied to win a five-game match over Albert Lea by scores of 29-27, 25-20, 23-25, 24-26, 15-7 in Adams Monday.

The Rebels (1-0 overall) took game five after having let the third and fourth games slip away. Southland jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the fifth game when Jessica Pitzen served six straight points — including one ace. Pitzen also had the tip kill that put the Tigers away at the end of the match.

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“(They were coming up too far) so we decided to go way back row for a lot of the night,” said Pitzen, a senior who had nine kills, six digs and three blocks. “We got together as a team (in the fifth game) and we really worked hard and focused. We just had to work together, that’s all that mattered and it’s all we did.”

The Rebels led the fourth game 24-22 after Emily Howton knocked down three late kills. But Southland couldn’t convert it’s offense as Albert Lea (0-2 overall) scored the last four points. The Rebels led the third game 20-19, but couldn’t hang on.

“The first few games weren’t pretty. We’d get a lead and then we’d struggle,” Southland head coach Angie Smith said. “We had a lot of girls looking at each other, hoping the next girl would get it and then nobody would get it.”

The Rebels closed the first game when Howton and Jana Schammel had back-to-back kills to break a 27-27 tie.

Smith was pleased with how her team finished the fifth game.

“I was very proud of the last game. It’s a quick game and if you can get a four or five point lead, that’s tremendous,” Smith said. “We’re getting there. Once we get our lineup set I think it will get better.”

Southland had contributions from several players on the night and Pitzen said that pulling out game five will help the team get closer.

“I think it’s really going to make us focus and work hard for the next couple of games,” she said. “We’re playing with ninth graders and tenth graders. We’re really trying to bond and that will build a stronger team.”

Howton had 11 kills, eight digs, 15 assists, two aces and one block for Southland, Katie Barthels had 11 kills, nine digs, four aces and 25 assists, Brandi Schammel had six kills, eight digs and one block, Haley Hoff had 10 digs, and Jana Schammel had one block.