TRUMAN - The Alden-Conger Knights snuck past the Truman Bluejays, 25-11, 25-19, 24-26, 25-23, in a Valley Conference volleyball match on Tuesday night in Truman.
The Knights cruised through Game 1, taking the 14-point victory.
Truman responded in the second game, clawing its way back from a 23-15 deficit to inch within four.
HIGH?LOFT — Truman setter Samantha Hartwig lofts a set during Valley Conference volleyball action Tuesday night in Truman. Photo by Leanna Becker
With Alexis Jahnz at the the service line, Samantha Hartwig and Savannah Stevens connected on back-to-back cross-court kills to make it 23-17.
A Knights' hitting error, combined with an ace serve from Jahnz, made it 23-19.
Alden-Conger senior Ariel Keller ended the Bluejays' scoring run with a kill down the middle on a set from senior Allison Songstad to make it 24-19.
Jahnz made a stellar dig on a Knights' offensive attack, that Hartwig set over for Truman, but Keller blocked it to the floor to win the game 25-19.
"I was really proud of this group, that we were all able to mentally stay in the match after the first two games. It was a whole team effort tonight," said Truman head coach Steve Schlager. "They served to our weak spots well in the first games and we hung in there."
Truman took its first lead of the match in Game 3, when Jahnz smoked a Hartwig set for the kill to make it 4-3. A missed attack by the Knights and a passing error on an Emily Zaharia serve extended the Bluejays' lead to 6-3.
Truman maintained its lead throughout the game, but with the score 21-16, the Knights staked a comeback to make things interesting.
A net violation by Truman started the rally, which consisted of three kills from Keller for points to make it 21-20.
The Knights' Taylor Martin tied things up at 21-21 with by blasting a Songstad set off of Truman libero Kaitlin Bloomquist's arms.
Stevens and Emma Wiederhoeft combined on a tip at the net for a kill on a Knights' overpass to end the scoring rally to make it 22-21.
Hanna Hartman sent a set over and deep into the corner to give the Bluejays a two-point lead.
The Knight hung on with a Keller tip and a kill by Cassie Gilster to even the game at 23-23.
Hartwig then set Zaharia up for a kill, which would ultimately score the Bluejays' point when the Knights' attack by Gilster sailed out.
Gilster scored another point on a Truman overpass, sending it to the floor to tie the game at 24-24.
Jahnz saved the game for Truman with a dig that led to another Bluejay score to make it match point at 25-24.
Zaharia ended the game with a kill down the middle on a Hartwig set.
"Those last two games, we had the defense firing on all cylinders," said Schlager. "That's the kind of defense I've been looking for all season."
In Game 4, two Alden-Conger errors, and a Hartwig cross-court roll shot scored three points to add to the Bluejays' 14-11 lead, making it 17-11.
The Knights ended the run when Keller sent a set down the line to make it 17-12. Gilster scored an ace serve that started an Alden-Conger four-point swing, making it 17-16.
Zaharia ended the run with back-to-back blocks on Keller and Brittany Waters' attacks, killing the second to make it 18-16.
Keller took back the lead for the Knights with a tip just over the Truman blockers to make it 20-19.
Stevens would narrow the Knights' margin at the end of the game, recording a kill on a roll shot off a set from Hartwig to inch Truman within 24-23, but Waters scored the winning point for the Knights with a shot off a Hartman block to make it 25-23.
"It was really fun to watch these teams play tonight," said Schlager. "This is the Truman team that we've been looking for all year, and I thought we played well."
Zaharia had a team leading 12 kills in the match, along with 15 digs and 11 blocks. Hartwig scored nine kills and made 19 digs for the Truman defense, with two ace serves.
Wiederhoeft and Stevens each dispensed seven kills, with Stevens also recording four aces and eight digs, while Wiederhoeft made five digs.
Jahnz made 16 digs for the Bluejays, while Bloomquist made 10 as the defensive specialist.
Truman (1-14) travels to play in the St. Clair Invite on Saturday.
Alden-Conger (8-9) hosts Cleveland in a Valley Conference match at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in Alden.
Windom Area 3, Martin County West 1 - The Eagles outlasted the Mavericks, 25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 25-15, in a nonconference volleyball match on Tuesday night in Trimont.
The Mavericks' Libbie Lange recorded 11 kills and six blocks to lead the offensive effort. Kate Thiesse and Jordan Gregory each tallied eight kills, with Thiesse also added 10 blocks to Gregory's three blocks.
Haley Leiding dispensed five kills and made six blocks for the Mavericks' offense.
MCW's Taryn Tumbleson made eight digs and seven kills in the match, while libero Molly Klima made 27 digs.
Jackie Schliesmann and Autumn Smith contributed 11 and nine digs, respectively.
Morgan Williamson doled out 16 set assists and made 10 digs, while Kennedy Janssen distributed 13 set assists and made four digs.
Martin County West (15-9) travels to Mapleton for a Valley Conference match against Maple River at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.