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Clippers breeze by Jaguars; St. Peter rallies by Fairmont

TWO-HANDED BLOCK — Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman middle hitter Katelyn Diegnau (19) elevates to attempt a two-handed block on a spike by Cleveland setter Taylin Gosch (5) during Valley Conference volleyball action Thursday night in Northrop. The Jaguars’ Josie Clow (8) watches the play. (Photo by Greg Abel)

NORTHROP — Outside hitter Halle McCabe closed out Cleveland’s three-game volleyball sweep in the same manner that she opened it — with a sizzling down-the-line spike-winner.

McCabe pounded out a match-best 17 kills, middle hitter Emily Kern contributed 10 more and setter Taylin Gosch doled out a match-high 30 assists to breeze the visiting Clippers to a 25-14, 25-18, 25-15 Valley Conference shutout over the Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman Jaguars on Thursday night in Northrop.

“I was just finding the open spots (in the defense) and hitting them tonight,” said McCabe. “Some hitters don’t like to, but I almost prefer to go down the line with mine (spikes).”

McCabe cranked a Gosch set untouched down the left outside line before middle hitter Michaelah Petrowiak countered for the Jaguars by recording one of her match-best four blocks.

The two teams stayed within striking distance of one another throughout the opener before Kern’s high-impact conversion of a Gosch set created a sideout for Cleveland at 14-10.

Gosch then displayed her deft serving touch by reeling off five unanswered points to put the Clippers in the driver’s seat at 19-10. Libero Emma Sweere and Gosch combined for a diving save and a point-winning bump-over to help trigger the offensive outburst.

Petrowiak later drilled one of her team-best six kills off one of Hayley Stensland’s six set assists before Harley Conner answered for the Clippers with a spike-winner.

Jordyn Klingel then served out the final two points for Cleveland, with McCabe supplying front-line firepower to cap the 11-point win.

“They (the Clippers) swung a lot and we got more touches on defense, so that tells you that we were in the right place at the right time,” said Jaguars head coach Paul Steinhaus. “They just had many good hitters for us to handle tonight.”

Petrowiak kept the Jaguars close in Game 2, too, but a net serve by the hometown lineup allowed Brianna Conner to rotate to the service area.

Brianna Conner assembled a pivotal eight-point service run, as McCabe unleashed four blistering kills during the sequence, to build a 16-5 lead in the middle contest.

Petrowiak, however, fired back with a sideout kill off one of Ella Nagorske’s seven set assists to place the volleyball in Kambria Steinhaus’ capable hands. Steinhaus served four points in a row, with Katelyn Diegnau chipping in a couple of spike-winners.

McCabe, however, fended off the Jaguars’ comeback bid by jackhammering a down-the-line ace kill off a Gosch set to put Game 2 in the books.

Zoe Porter then came off the Cleveland bench to give the visitors the early momentum on the strength of four service points at 5-1.

Kiana Preston later countered for the Jaguars with a three-point service stint, but the Clippers proved too strong down the stretch. Kern recorded a pair of blocks before McCabe capped the three-game sweep with a down-the-line kill.

The Jaguars (1-3) travel to Janesville on Monday night, while Cleveland (5-1) plays host to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial.

St. Peter 3, Fairmont 1 — The Saints rebounded from a 25-21 Game 1 loss to recorded consecutive wins of 25-21, 25-18 and 25-19, to defeat the Cardinals in a Big South Conference match Thursday night in St. Peter.

Brittney Mosloski drilled 11 kills, went 11-for-11 serving and made eight digs to pace Fairmont, while Cassidy Schultz collected 15 digs, four kills, three blocks and two aces behind 9-for-11 serving.

Sabrina Segar doled out 11 set assists and connected on 23 of 24 serves for the Cardinals, Maddy Schwieger was perfect in 17 serves, while Natalie Tonne hammered five kills to go with six digs.

Jaya Johnson and Madysen Allen each scooped up nine digs and went 11 of 11 serving for Fairmont, Kaitlyn Scott distributed four set assists to go with three kills, while Bryn Miller added three kills.

Fairmont (0-3) plays host to Waseca on Monday night.

St. Peter edged Fairmont in B-squad action, 25-19, 27-25, Thursday night.

Olivia Ortega went 5-for-5 serving with 10 digs for the Cardinals, Jazlyn Geerdes made nine digs and two blocks to complement 4-for-4 serving, while Kynlie Anderson went 9-for-9 serving.

St. Peter defeated Fairmont, 25-13, 25-12, 15-7, during C-squad action Thursday.

Nevaeh Rahm made nine digs and had two kills, Rylyn Larsen served two aces and Grace Pendergast distributed two set assists for the Cardinals.

Waseca 3, Blue Earth Area 0 — The Bluejays squeezed by the Bucs, 25-23, 25-17, 25-21, during Big South Conference action Thursday night in Waseca.

Eloise Blair smacked 11 kills, recorded 13 digs and generated six points on 11-for-11 serving for BEA, while Miya Gustafson tallied 12 digs and notched seven points — including two aces — behind 11-for-11 serving.

Liz Beeler distributed 22 set assists to complement eight digs, Hailey Becker produced four kills to go with six points and two aces off of 7-for-7 serving, whle Brita Hougen supplied four kills and seven points on 13 of 13 serving for the Bucs.

Blue Earth Area (1-3) plays host to St. James Area on Monday night.

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