FAIRMONT - Oh, the difference a year makes.
Tailor Raymond produced a match-high 23 kills, while Olivia Hass netted a double-double of 10 kills and 10 ace blocks to help the St. Peter Saints squeeze by the Fairmont Cardinals, 25-20, 25-27, 30-28, 25-16, during South Central Conference volleyball action Tuesday night in Fairmont.
The vastly-improved Saints locked up runner-up conference accolades by exiting Cardinal Gym with their eighth victory out of 10 league matches on the season. St. Peter's only two SCC losses came at the hands of outright conference champion Blue Earth Area (9-1).
DIGGIN’ IT — Fairmont libero Brooke Wubbena digs a spike during volleyball action Tuesday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. Photo by Leanna Becker
"We've come a long ways," said St. Peter mentor Carmen Hanson, whose program also improved to 18-9 overall. The Saints posted a 10-17 overall mark in 2011, including a 4-6 record against SCC opponents.
Trailing 9-6 in Game 1, a Saints' service error allowed Tori Edgington to rotate to the back line and serve the Cardinals even behind three stinging aces.
Kirsten Makela reversed the trend in St. Peter's direction via a four-point service stint before Elizabeth Kim's perfectly-timed tip helped Fairmont draw even later at 15-all.
This time, the Cardinals' errant serve proved costly as Mikayla Ogren replaced the 6-foot-2 Hass at the service area and reeled off three clutch points to stake the Saints to a 23-19 edge.
Outside hitter Paige Bearson, who pounded down a team-leading 13 kills, unleashed a sizzling cross-court kill off one of Elizabeth Kim's 10 set assists to stem the run momentarily.
A Fairmont hitting error and Raymond's alert tip off a Cardinal overpass finally sealed the Saints' 25-20 opening win.
Despite Makela's five unanswered service points to open Game 2, St. Peter could not hold the upperhand on the scoreboard as Bearson's thundering kill off one of Emily Kim's team-best 20 set assists later rotated Edgington to the line.
Edgington lined home five consecutive winners, with Emily Kim and Bearson delivering the frontline firepower to engineer an eventual 21-20 lead.
Raymond traded hard-hit kills with Fairmont's Kayla Lardy to extend Game 2 to 25-all before Lardy's smackdown on a Saints' overpass regained possession for the Cardinals.
Elizabeth Kim served up the final two points around a St. Peter timeout, with Edgington recording the game-sealing block.
The two SCC spikers extended Game 3 even further than Game 2, with the Saints reaching 30 to finally claim a 2-1 match lead.
Middle hitter Kersten Shantz's back-to-back kills inched Fairmont ahead 24-23 before St. Peter's Leah Schroepfer and Raymond countered. Hass later rejected a spike to swing a 28-27 lead to the Saints before Bearson countered with a sizzling cross-court blast.
Schroepfer then slammed home back-to-back blocks from the middle hitting position to seal the visitors' incredible 30-28 decision.
St. Peter libero Brooklyn Braun later delivered the pivotal service run in Game 4, transforming a nip-and-tuck 18-15 lead into a commanding eight-point margin. Braun hammered home two aces before Raymond cranked a winner to help fuel a 25-16 game win and 3-1 match triumph.
Makela distributed 15 set assists for the Saints, while Schroepfer contributed seven kills and five ace blocks.
Lardy contributed 10 kills and three ace blocks to the Cardinals' effort.
Fairmont (11-11, 6-4 SCC) awaits the results of today's seeding meeting for its opponent and the site of a Section 3AA, South Sub-Section match on Friday, Oct. 26.
St. Peter downed Fairmont in B-squad action, 25-19, 25-21, Tuesday.
Morgan Seifried distributed 11 set assists for the Cardinals, while Haley Harder supplied four kills and five digs.
Aly Eversman went 7-for-7 serving and made five digs for Fairmont; Sydney Glienke went 11 of 13 serving to complement 10 digs and three kills; Courtney Mosloski nailed six kills; while Michaela Twitchell added 6 of 6 serving, six digs and three kills.
Fairmont served at a 93-percent clip as a team to power a 17-25, 25-22, 16-14 victory over St. Peter during C-squad action Tuesday.
Marisa Lehr served at a 100-percent pace for the Cardinals, while Brice Bonin was 14 of 15 at the line with four aces.
Alyssa Westcott distributed seven set assists for Fairmont, while Payton Walser chipped in four kills.
Blue Earth Area 3, Waseca 0 - The Bucs clinched the outright South Central Conference championship by blanking the Bluejays, 25-11, 25-21, 25-18, on Tuesday night in Blue Earth.
Krista Hassing and Janessa Jahnke delivered a devastating 1-2 punch for Blue Earth Area. Hassing and Jahnke each pounded out 10 kills, with Hassing adding eight digs and five ace blocks, and Jahnke supplying five digs and two rejections.
Monica Krieger distributed 27 set assists and made five digs for the Bucs, while Ashton Hendricksen generated six kills, six digs and two ace blocks.
Aubrey McDonald served at a 17-for-18 clip with three aces and 14 points, while Whitney Pirsig tallied nine points and three aces behind 12-for-13 serving. Pirsig also added two ace blocks.
Blue Earth Area (18-6, 9-1 SCC) competes in the Rochester Century Invite on Friday and Saturday.
Martin County West 3, Cedar Mountain/Comfrey 0 - Taryn Tumbleson pounded out nine kills, while Libbie Lange delivered eight spike-winners to help guide the Mavericks to a 25-15, 25-8, 25-13 non-league sweep over the Cougars on Tuesday night in Comfrey.
Lange also made three ace blocks, Kate Thiesse hammered out five kills and five rejections, while Jordan Gregory unleashed four kills for MCW.
Hailey Leiding contributed three kills and three ace blocks to the Mavericks' winning ways, while Morgan Williamson and Kennedy Janssen doled out 19 and 10 set assists, respectively.
Molly Klima made 16 digs to top the MCW backrow defense, while Jackie Schliesmann and Autumn Smith supplied nine and seven digs, respectively.
Martin County West (19-9-1, 10-1 Valley) awaits the results of today's seeding meeting for its opponent and the site of a Section 2A, South Sub-Section match on Thursday, Oct. 25.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 3, Truman 0 - The visiting Knights chalked up a 25-14, 25-11, 25-16 Valley Conference sweep over the Bluejays on Tuesday night in Truman.
Emily Zaharia collected eight kills, 11 digs and two ace blocks to top Truman's effort, while Hanna Hartman and Savannah Stevens each delivered three kills. Stevens also made six digs.
Alexis Jahnz distributed 11 set assists and made 17 digs for the Bluejays, while Ashlea Fadness, Kaitlin Bloomquist and Sara Schwanz each chipped in three digs.
Truman (2-23, 0-10 Valley) awaits its first-round playoff match in the upcoming Section 2A, South Sub-Section tournament.
Nicollet 3, Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain 0 - The Raiders swept the Knights, 25-20, 25-19, 25-22, during Valley Conference action Tuesday night at East Chain School.
Kristi Oberdieck delivered nine kills and three ace blocks to pace ML/GHEC, while Amanda Cegelske and Anna Balcom supplied five kills each.
Hunter Payne distributed 20 set assists and made 13 digs, Effie Bentz chalked up 14 digs, while Catie Sherman and Amber Schulz each served two aces.
Martin Luther/GHEC awaits its first-round playoff match in the upcoming Section 2A, South Sub-Section tournament.