Tourney defeat ends BEA volleyball season
In a battle of teams with identical 18-9 records going into their semi-final sub-section volleyball match, it was the third-seed Maple River Eagles who came out on top against the number two-seed Blue Earth Area Bucs. The match went four games Tuesday night at Mankato East High School.
“Our girls needed to be one step quicker – it wasn’t our best night,” comments Coach Donna Lee. “I’m very proud of our team, they gave 100 percent.”
A very athletic Eagles team did a good job of keeping the ball in play and the young Buccaneer team had trouble finishing off points.
Maple River never trailed in the opening game of the match. Following a tie score of one-all the Eagles steadily increased their lead, having an eight point margin at 17-9.
The Bucs fought back though. Following a back row kill by Danika Stindtman and a kill by Jenny Smith they had closed the gap to four points, trailing 21-17. That is as close as they could come however, and the Eagles won game one 25-20.
Game number two was a very close contest with the Bucs having the advantage most of the way – until the Eagles ran off four consecutive points to turn a 17-15 deficit into a 19-17 lead.
With the momentum seeming to be going the Eagles way, the Bucs maintained their composure and battled back. A side out gave the Bucs a point and cut the Eagles lead to one point at 19-18.
Freshman Smith stepped to the service line and the Bucs ran off five more points to take a 24-19 lead. The Eagles would get one point back on a side out before the Bucs would gain the final point and the game two win – 25-20.
The closest game of the night came in game three. The teams were tied a total of 12 times before the Eagles pulled away from a 21-21 tie to win 25-21.
Maple River had opened up a 16-12 game two lead before Stindtman went on a mini-tear. The Bucs won three of the next four points on kills by the senior outside hitter. In the end it wasn’t enough as the Eagles took a two games to one lead.
The Eagles dominated game four as the Bucs found themselves falling behind early 12-2.
A kill by Stindtman, a stuff by Haley Pirsig, and an ace serve by Kirsten Johanson helped trim the lead to six points at 12-6. The Bucs were not able to get any closer.
Leading 16-10, the Eagles recorded nine of the next 10 points for a 25-11 win to give them the match.
“Give Maple River credit,” says Coach Lee. “They were scrappy – they out-hustled us and were all over the court. We wish them luck as they continue on.”
Stindtman, in her final volleyball game for the Bucs, finished her career with a strong effort. The perennial all-conference standout recorded 17 kills and 14 digs. Johanson, the only other senior on the team, finished with 27 set assists and was 17-17 serving with 10 points.
Smith hit all 19 of her serves for 10 points and recorded 15 digs.
Sydney Ristau and Haley Pirsig had a good defensive night at the net with Ristau recording five ace blocks and Pirsig tallying three.
The season ended for the Bucs with an overall record of 18-10, while winning the South Central Conference championship with a perfect record of 10-0.