Cards can’t lock up SEC title as Mabel/Canton wins in four

Published 10:29 pm Friday, October 23, 2009

LEROY — The third time was not the charm for the LeRoy/Ostrander volleyball team Friday night in LeRoy.

After beating Mabel/Canton (29-3 overall) twice during the regular season, the Cardinals couldn’t close out the Cougars with the SEC championship on the line.

M/C captured the conference crown by scores of 16-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-23.

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L/O (25-4 overall) led the fourth game 21-18 after a kill by Kaylee Bunne, but M/C closed out strong and they clinched the match when Lindsey Kuhn hammered down a point off the net.

“I think we had a lot of nerves tonight. We started out strong, but we just couldn’t keep that momentum,” L/O head coach Lisa Swenson said.

The Cardinals biggest trouble came on serve receives, not so much in allowing aces, but L/O had trouble getting it’s offense started.

“In the second and third game we struggled with serve receives,” Swenson said. “They are the best serving team that we’ve seen all year long.”

The Cards had won their last 13 matches with sweeps, and while the loss stings, Swenson said it’s better to have it happen to her squad now than in the playoffs, which start next week. The Cards will be No. 1 seed in Section 1A East Division and play Thursday night in LeRoy against the winner of Spring Grove and Lanesboro.

“It’s better that we lost now compared to next week or the week after,” Swenson said.

M/C is the No. 2 seed in Section 1A East Division.

“This is not the end of our season,” Swenson said. “We’ll probably get another shot at them and that’s when it’s going to count more.”

L/O captured all of the momentum in the first game when it jumped out to a 16-7 lead and cruised to the finish. The Cougars grabbed the early lead in games three and four, but the Cards pulled to within 18-17 in the third game before they served it into the net and the Cougars scored the next four points.

Kaylee Bunne had 14 kills for L/O, Mac Bunne had 37 set assists, Alana Roe had 10 kills and Rachel Rosedahl had 31 digs.