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Raiders outspike Mavericks in Valley match, 3-1

CRUSHING IT — Martin County West’s Emily Dunlop (14) hammers a set from teammate Emily Anderson (7) for a kill over a double block set by Nicollet’s Kendall Robertson (4) and Brooklyn Gohr (2) during Valley Conference volleyball Monday night in Trimont. The Mavericks’ Taylor Elliott (far left) watches the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

TRIMONT — Close, but not quite enough.

The Nicollet Raiders outlasted the Martin County West Mavericks, 3-1, during Valley Conference volleyball action Monday night in Trimont.

The Raiders claimed wins of 25-22, 25-19 and 25-21 in Games 1, 2 and 4, respectively, while the Mavericks took Game 3, 25-23.

In Game 1, the teams traded points and short runs to get to 11-11, then MCW jumped ahead. The Mavericks used an Emily Dunlop kill, then a Grace Bicknase kill off an Emily Anderson assist to go ahead 13-11 before Marah Hulke assisted Hayley Selby for the Raiders to break the short run.

The Mavericks got the serve back after a Raider spike into the net, after Dunlop saved an MCW shot that went into the net. With MCW ahead 14-13, Dunlop earned another kill to put Bicknase at the service line.

Bicknase served the Mavericks to a 19-13 advantage, including back-to-back aces, the first hitting the back line and the second rolling just over the top of the net and travelling straight to the floor.

MCW built its lead to 21-15, but the Raiders claimed 10 of the next 11 points on serves from Brooklyn Gohr and Olivia Whitmore to take the initial game.

Game 2 began similarly, with the teams trading points to tie at 10, but the Raiders took seven of the next nine to build a lead they would not give up.

Hulke dished out four of her game-leading 21 assists in the final 12 points, two to Kendall Robertson, one to Gohr and one to Selby, to help lead the Raiders to their six-point win.

MCW head coach Hilary Elliott said mental mistakes kept the Mavericks from finishing off close games.

“We just have to control what we can control on our side,” Elliott said. “We have to clean up the little things. Serve receiving, too many missed serves at the wrong times, back-to-back serves, we just really got to start cleaning up the mental part of our game on our side of the floor.”

The teams stayed close in Game 3, leading to a 12-11 Maverick advantage before a Bicknase-assisted Dunlop kill and a Dunlop blocking ace led to a 15-11 MCW lead.

Selby quickly served the Raiders back to a tie at 15, then the teams traded points to a 21-20 Maverick lead.

Two errant Raider hits, one sticking in the lights above the court, put the Mavericks ahead 23-20 before Emily Lorentz assisted Selby for a kill for the Raiders.

Anderson assisted Bicknase for a kill, then Bicknase assisted Dunlop for the game winner, clinching a 25-23 win.

“I thought they fought hard,” Elliott said. “I changed the lineup for that Game 3, just some things weren’t clicking. We had to throw something else in to get a little more energy and power. We got to try something new. With Gabby (Lange) being out, we’re still trying to find that right fit. What worked the other night (against Madelia) was what we started with, but it didn’t work quite as well tonight. We need to find the right fit, the right group.”

Nicollet jumped ahead in Game 4, taking an 18-12 lead, but the Mavericks stormed back.

Anderson assisted Hailee Schuett to put Anderson behind the service line for the Mavericks, where she served MCW to seven consecutive points.

Anderson served an ace, assisted Taylor Elliott and Elliott added an unassisted kill to help give the Mavericks a 19-18 advantage, but the Raiders claimed seven of the final nine points, ending on a Gohr kill to take the match.

Dunlop led the Mavericks with 10 kills to complement a team-high 25 digs, while Taylor Elliott had 18 digs and six kills.

Bicknase led the team with 15 set assists to complement six kills, while Anderson was close behind with 14 set assists, seven digs and five kills.

Lucy Larson served 10-for-11, dug out 13 spikes and added four kills to the Maverick offense.

Because of COVID-19 scheduling issues, the match was a rescheduled contest from Oct. 13. The Mavericks (2-5) and Raiders (6-3) will face off again tonight at 7:15 p.m. in Nicollet.

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