Bucs upended in rare loss
There is a first time for everything, and the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers got a taste of that Thursday night, dropping their first conference match of the 2016 volleyball season in a 3-1 loss to St. Peter.
Both the Bucs and the Saints entered the contest having won each of their four Big South Conference matchups, but it was St. Peter who controlled the flow of Thursday’s action, taking the first two games, 25-11 and 25-20, before sealing the deal in a fourth bout, 25-8.
“It’s all about rhythm,” Bucs coach Donna Nawrocki said after the deciding game. “Once you get into one, you’re good, and they had one.”
The same nearly could have been said for BEA by the midway point of Thursday’s competition.
With Lindsey Norman returning from injury in the second game of the evening, the Bucs offense began to click, staying within four points of the visiting Saints and carrying momentum in the third game. In that one, Norman had the winning kill, capping off a long-awaited surge by BEA’s experienced unit.
As many as 10 points ahead of St. Peter in that third game, the Bucs struggled to replicate their success in the night’s final showdown, falling behind 5-0 early in the fourth game and fighting from behind until the end.
The loss, which dropped BEA’s season record to 9-3 (4-1 in the conference), was not without some promising signs for Nawrocki, however.
“The girls kept pushing, and they’re working hard,” she said. “I know what they’re capable of.”
The maroon and gold will have a chance to prove that on Tuesday, when they are scheduled to host New Ulm at 7:15 p.m.
And in their lineup for what the Bucs hope is a rebound and restarted win streak will be Alissa Norman, who was honored prior to Thursday’s match for reaching 1,000 career set assists.
The sister of teammate Lindsey, she reached the milestone on Sept. 10 during the Buccaneers’ Luverne tournament but was presented with an honorary volleyball in front of the BEA crowd Thursday night, sending the ball into the audience after a brief statement from Nawrocki.
“She just keeps working hard,” the coach said, “and she’s been such a reliable setter for us.”
The stat sheet from Thursday’s showdown was another example of that, as Norman’s 16 set assists led the Bucs against St. Peter.
Also chipping in during BEA’s loss to the Saints were Lindsey Norman and Samantha Barslou, who combined for 14 kills; Kaylor Jacobs, who logged six digs; and Maddi Oelke and Sofie Blair, who each had aces as servers.
BEA 3, St. James 1
The maroon and gold kept their win streak intact on Tuesday, downing the host St. James Saints in four games.
Boosting their season record to 9-2, the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers came out strong on the road, winning the night’s first two bouts 25-17 and 25-23, respectively. And even after a 25-17 defeat in the third game of the evening, the Bucs rallied to stay in the win column, pulling out another 25-23 decision to seal Tuesday’s victory.
Alissa Norman posted 21 set assists against St. James, while Samantha Ripley led the Bucs with nine kills on the night.
Kaylor Jacobs had seven of her own kills, while Maddi Oelke, Samantha Barslou and Sofie Blair each had at least seven digs. Oelke also contributed with five ace blocks, while Barslou headlined BEA’s serving with 22 points and four aces.