Superlarks use balance to beat Rebels

Published 10:27 pm Monday, September 20, 2021

GRAND MEADOW – The Grand Meadow volleyball team shared the wealth as it cashed in on a three-game sweep over Southland by scores of 25-10, 25-14, 25-21 in GM Monday.

GM (8-4 overall) didn’t have any hitters put up big numbers, but Emma Grafe led a balanced attack with five kills and three assists.

“We just need to communicate more and not get down on ourselves,” Grafe said. “We need to work on the fundamentals of volleyball. We’re a very solid team all around. Lauren (Queensland) got pulled up as a freshman and she’s doing amazing.”

The final game was a back-and-forth affair that saw neither team lead by more than three until the final point. The Rebels led 19-17, but GM was able to make the big plays down the stretch and force a few side outs.

“I was super proud of our blocking tonight,” Southland head coach Michelle Nelson said. “We got a lot more touches on the ball and our defense was a lot stronger than it has been. Our hitters just need to put the ball in play. We were hitting into the net when we had key opportunities to get a point.”

The Rebels gained the edge to start the third game as they went up 3-0 with their first lead of the night, but Grafe responded with a six-point serving run that saw her produce two aces.

Then Southland (3-4 overall) held a 12-9 lead, but the Larks took a 14-13 advantage after Grafe, River Landers and Kendyl Queensland put down consecutive kills.

The Rebels tied the second game at 4-4 when Bria Nelson served an ace, but the Superlarks stormed back into it as they used a 9-2 burst to go up 13-6. Landers and Grafe each had kills during the rally.

Landers finished with four kills and three aces.

“I think we had really good energy in the first two games, but they kind of got in our heads in the third one. That’s something we need to work on,” Landers said. “It’s good to be challenged like that. I think our communication kind of broke down and we kind of lashed out a little, but we’ve got to build each other up.”

The Superlarks opened the match with a 10-4 run in the first game as they cruised to the opening round win.

While they didn’t score a win, the Rebels were pleased with how they competed against a balanced GM attack.

“They mix it up a lot, but our middle blockers have gotten a lot better at reading hitters and watching the setter’s hands,” Nelson said. “These girls are improving every single day. Had we played Grand Meadow earlier in the beginning of the year, it would not have gone as well as it did.”

GM stats: Grand Meadow: Sydney Cotten 5 digs; Kendyl Queensand 3 digs, 1 block, 2 aces; Anna Oehlke 5 digs, 1 block, 2 aces; Emma Grafe 5 kills, 5 assists, 1 block, 3 aces; River Landers 4 kills, 2 blocks, 3 aces; Lauren Queensland 3 kills; Isabelle Fretty 10 assists 

Southland stats: Bailey Johnson, 8 kills, 5 digs, 2 ace serves; Jaselyn Sathre, 3 kills; Maddy Bhend, 7 set assists, 6 digs; Bria Nelson, 6 set assists; Hattie Wiste, 6 digs