FAIRMONT - Standing a mere 5-feet-3, libero Brooklyn Braun delivered St. Peter's biggest points - the final three - of Game 5 to cap the visiting Saints' incredible comeback volleyball victory over Fairmont on Thursday night in Fairmont.
St. Peter's twin towers - 6-3 middle hitter Olivia Hass and 6-2 Paige Lubiani - generated kills to bookend Braun's service ace to ice a 23-25, 19-25, 25-22, 27-25, 15-11 South Central Conference decision over Fairmont within the chilly confines of Cardinal Gym.
Outside spiker Kayla Lardy had the hot-hitting hand in Game 1, plastering five of her team-best 17 kills off of setter Emily Kim's pinpoint assists to help the Cardinals outslug the Saints in the air-conditioned airwaves near the net.
LOFTY RETURN — Fairmont libero Kristen Campe (left) lofts a high return off of a dig as teammate Sydney Glienke looks on during volleyball action Thursday night in Fairmont. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Hass drilled two of her match-best 25 kills off of a pair of Kirsten Makela's match-leading 51 set assists to inch St. Peter within 24-23 in the opener, but a Saints' hitting error swung the narrow victory to the Cardinals.
Fairmont's Sydney Glienke, who connected on 23 of 24 serves on the match, generated eight of her 13 points out of the leadoff spot in the service rotation to stake the home team to a commanding 9-0 edge in Game 2.
Unfortunately for the red-and-white, Lubiani hammered a pivotal sideout kill - one of 18 on the match - to rotate Mikayla Ogren to the line for the Saints.
Ogren, who connected on 24 of 25 serves for 15 points, reeled off six consecutive points - with Hass delivering four potent kills - to inch St. Peter within 11-8.
Lardy and Lubiani traded point-winning spikes down the stretch before Fairmont outside hitter Kersten Shantz unleashed a perfect down-the-line kill off of a Kim assist to ice a 25-19 Game 2 decision.
Despite Kim's stellar four-point service stint to open an early 4-0 lead in Game 3, St. Peter slowly got into synch, with Leah Schroepfer and Lauren Chabot adding hitting punch to the twin tandem of Hass and Lubiani to later draw even at 16-all.
"It's been an 'off' week for us. We'd already lost a couple of extended matches on Monday (a 3-2 loss to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial) and Tuesday (a 3-1 defeat at the hands of New Ulm), and just seemed out of sync," said St. Peter head coach Carmen Hanson. "I changed up our rotation, and we still seemed to be 'off.' I should have switched back to our regular lineup sooner, but better late than never."
Hass carried the Saints on her powerful shoulders by matching frontline firepower with the Cardinals' Madison Geerdes and Shantz to 22-all.
Lubiani then rotated to the net and cranked home a Makela assist for a pivotal sideout kill at 23-22. Lubiani then notched a block before Makela lined home a service ace to seal the Saints' 25-22 comeback win in Game 3.
Lardy and Glienke then exchanged sizzling spikes with Hass and Schroepfer to produce seven ties, including the last one at 25-all.
Glienke smacked a Kim set to the hardwood court to knot the match at 24 before Schroepfer answered with a cross-court blast off Makela's set to inch St. Peter ahead 25-24.
Lardy's two-handed push shot proved the equalizer at 25-all before the Saints' 6-footers closed out the 27-25 win with Braun at the line. Lubiani drilled a kill before Hass jackhammered a Cardinal overpass hovering too close to the net.
Shantz's sizzling spikes helped offset Hass' kill shots during the decisive Game 5, creating seven deadlocks on the scoreboard.
Lardy smacked down a Saints' overpass to knot the game at 11-all, but a Cardinals' hitting miscue allowed Braun to step the line and serve out the final three points.
Shantz supplied nine kills for the Cardinals' offensive effort, while Geerdes chipped in seven kills and five blocks.
Fairmont (3-8, 2-3 SCC) travels to Jackson County Central on Monday night, while St. Peter (7-4, 4-1) plays host to Blue Earth Area on Tuesday night.
St. Peter downed Fairmont in B-squad action, 25-18, 25-16, Thursday at Cardinal Gym.
Morgan Seifried doled out six set assists for the Cardinals, while Payton Walser delivered three kills, four service aces and four digs.
Tahnisha Jimenez made 10 digs for Fairmont, Courtney Williams generated three kills and three digs, Sarah Tschumperlin tallied four digs, while Alyssa Westcott chipped in three set assists and two kills.
Martin County West 3, Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain 0 - The Mavericks blanked the Knights 25-13, 25-13, 25-8 in Valley Conference action on Thursday in Trimont.
Kate Thiesse led the Mavericks with 10 kills, eight digs, three blocks and a pair of ace serves in the win.
Jordan Gregory was also in the double digits, smacking 10 kills along with making three digs.
Hailey Leiding recorded six kills, one block and one dig, while Reilly Geistfeld tallied five kills, two blocks and two digs for the Mavericks.
Kennedy Janssen doled ou 20 set assists and made 10 digs, while Autumn Smith and Molly Klima each contributed eight digs.
Haley Jensen sizzled two ace serves and made six digs, while Ellie Kuehl contributed five set assists and two digs.
The Knights' Amber Schulz led their offensive effort with six kills in the match.
Martin County West (11-4, 4-0 Valley) travels to Windom for a nonconference match at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain (2-9, 0-5 Valley) travels to play in the Truman Invite and will face United South Central on Saturday.
Cleveland 3, Truman 2 - The Clippers snuck by the Bluejays 21-5, 21-25, 25-21, 29-27, 15-6 in Valley Conference action on Thursday in Truman.
Emily Zaharia made a team-leading 30 digs, in addition to pounding 13 kills, making seven blocks and serving two aces for Truman.
Alexis Jahnz tallied 10 kills along with 24 digs, three aces and three blocks.
Hanna Hartman added six kills and three blocks, while Savannah Hodge smacked five kills and made nine digs.
Cydney Kilian distributed 39 set assists, while making nine digs, while Courtney Zaharia also made nine digs in addition to six kills.
Stephanie Jahnz made 10 digs, while Sarah Schwanz tallied nine digs in the match.
Truman (2-9, 1-4 Valley) hosts the Truman Invite and faces Mankato Loyola at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Waseca 3, Blue Earth Area 1 - The Bluejays outlasted the Bucs 25-9, 25-22, 20-25, 25-19 in South Central Conference action on Thursday in Waseca.
Audrey McDonald smacked 10 kills, made 10 digs and went 13-for-14 serving with six points to pace the Bucs' effort.
Haley Resutek made a team-leading 15 digs, while Elizabeth Ellis recorded five kills and two blocks at the net.
Nicole Krinke doled out 20 set assists, made 28 digs and went 17-for-18 serving with two aces and scored 12 points for the Bucs.
Ciarra Olson made 12 digs and ripped five kills in the match.
Blue Earth Area (2-9, 0-5 SCC) travels for a conference match on Tuesday in St. Peter.