FAIRMONT - The Fairmont Cardinals volleyball team earned its first South Central Conference victory of the season, downing the St. James Saints, 23-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-17, on Monday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont.
After the Saints slipped past the Cardinals in Game 1 with a 25-23 win, Fairmont surged back for the equalizer in the second game.
"If we could have served better in the first game, I think that we could have won that one," said Fairmont head coach Brad Haugen. "We missed a lot of serves that we typically wouldn't have and that was the difference in that game."
LOFTY SET — Fairmont setter Emily Kim (3) lofts a high set for an approaching Kayla Lardy (far right) during South Central Conference volleyball action against St. James on Monday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. Cardinal teammates Courtney Mosloski (17), Haley Harder (second from left) and Kristen Campe (21) watch the play develop. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
With Emily Kim at the serving line, the Cardinals took an opening run for a 3-0 lead in Game 2.
Kim doled out a set assist to Sydney Glienke for the 1-0 lead, before a pair of Saint errors secured Fairmont the 3-0 advantage.
The Saints continued to stay within striking distance, but with Kayla Lardy back to serve, the Cardinals once again found a scoring surge.
St. James sophomore Julia Beckius, who tallied a team-leading 10 kills, pounded one of Emily Bottem's 25 set assists across the net with the Saints trailing 6-4, but Courtney Mosloski and Kersten Shantz set up the perfect double block to extend Fairmont's lead to 7-4.
Lardy then sizzled one of her two ace serves on the match, before Kim and Mosloski teamed up for another Fairmont double block on a Saints' attack to take the 9-4 lead.
The Saints' Allison Brandts ended the Cardinals' run at that point, tipping the ball over the net. Fairmont, however, retained the momentum and continued to pour on the power.
"We did a good job of staying persistent and focused on each play tonight," said Haugen. "We would get a lead, and then they would come back. They battled, and so I was happy to see that we stuck with it."
With an 11-5 lead thanks to a Saints' serving error and an attack sailing long, the Cardinals then rattled off another run.
Mosloski used her powerful swing to send one of Kim's 29 set assists straight to the floor for one of her 10 kills in the match, before Haley Harder scorched one of her four aces to give Fairmont a 13-5 lead.
Kim set Lardy for one of her 10 kills to start a four-point run, as the Cardinals took a 20-9 lead nearing the end of the second game.
After both teams traded serving errors, Kersten Shantz took a Kim assist down the line for one of her team-leading 11 kills to make it 21-10.
The Saints made it interesting however, rattling off two straight aces to make it 24-18 before Mosloski sent a Kim set to the floor for the 25-18 Game 2 victory.
With the regained momentum, the Cardinals captured the third and fourth games, 25-21, 25-17, respectively, to defeat the Saints.
Defensively, the Cardinals extended a lot of rallies, with Kristen Campe making a team-best 18 digs, while Glienke and Lardy each contributed 16 and 14, respectively.
"I thought we did a much better job of keeping the ball off the floor on our end of the court," said Haugen. "We dug the ball and did a good job of keeping rallies going, which when we struggled serving, was big."
Fairmont (2-5, 1-1 SCC) hosts Waseca in another conference match at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont.
St. James (2-2, 1-1 SCC) travels to Windom for a 7:30 p.m. match Tuesday.
Fairmont swept the Saints 25-23, 25-23 in B-squad volleyball action on Monday in Fairmont.
Haley Harder went a perfect 11-for-11 from the serving line, including a pair of aces, made 11 digs and recorded three kills for the Cardinals.
Morgan Seifried had one ace in her perfect 4-for-4 serving effort, along with doling out eight set assists for Fairmont.
Katelyn Noah had five kills in addition to her 5 of 6 serving night, while Tahnisha Jimenez went 3-for-4 serving with seven digs.
Sarah Tschumperlin recorded five digs, two kills and one ace as she went a perfect 6-for-6 serving in the win, with Alyssa Wescott doling out five set assists for Fairmont.
Payton Walser recorded six kills and five digs, while going 7 of 8 serving with one ace.
Tieryn Arens made three digs, in addition to generating two kills and going 6 of 7 serving with one ace.
St. James downed Fairmont 25-17, 25-13, 21-25 in C-squad volleyball action on Monday in Fairmont.
Maddie Hennager went 7-for-9 serving, while teammates Sara Schellpeper and Marissa Krzywicki went 9 of 11 and 9-for-13, respectively.