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Knights edge Jaguars in 5 games

REJECTED — Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman’s Mallery Geistfeld (29) blocks a tip by Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial’s Lilli Graupman during Valley Conference volleyball action Friday night in Northrop. The Jaguars’ Emily Stauter (41) watches the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

NORTHROP — After a loss to Madelia on Thursday night, the Jaguars were two points from a senior night win Friday.

The Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights beat Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman Jaguars 3-2 in Valley Conference action in Northrop.

The Knights took wins of 25-28, 26-24 and 15-13 in Games 2, 3 and 5, respectively. The Jaguars claimed Game 1, 25-18, and Game 4, 25-22.

Dani Freyberg used one of her game-high 38 assists to start Game 5, dishing the ball to Maggie Graupman for one of her 12 kills, putting the Knights up 1-0.

Michaelah Petrowiak responded by spiking one of her team-high 14 kills off a Ella Nagorske set, one of her team-high 29.

The pair connected again on the next play to give the Jaguars the lead, then Freyberg dished to Graupman to tie the matchup again.

Nagorske dished to Katelyn Diegnau for a kill, then a Knights’ hitting error put the Jaguars ahead 4-2. Freyberg then assisted Lakesha Carter for one of her match-high 19 kills, before serving an ace to tie the final game at 4.

An errant serve put the Jaguars up one, but Freyberg set up an Emily Johnson kill to tie before Carter served the Knights to an 8-5 advantage.

The Jaguars got within a point after Emily Stauter tallied an ace block, but a Lauren Kuebler service ace led the Knights to a 10-7 lead.

Petrowiak then connected for one of her six blocks before connecting with a Nagorske assist to get the Jaguars within 11-9.

Jaguar head coach Paul Steinhaus called a timeout after a Knight spike went into the net, making the score 12-11, hoping to rally the troops for one final run. But Freyberg assisted Graupman to go up another point after the stoppage.

Nagorske and Petrowiak connected again to get within 13-12, but a Sam Harmdierks kill put the Knights at match point.

The next LCWM serve went into the net, but an errant Jaguar spike ended the final game 15-13.

“That was a lot better than (Thursday night),” Steinhaus said. “They played with good focus. … We didn’t let them run a lot of long streaks and that was a lot better. We’re taking it one step at a time. It’s never too late, as long as we have games to play, it’s never too late to get better.”

All five Jaguar seniors got the start on senior night and played well to take Game 1.

The teams traded points, with Nagorske dishing out assists to Stauter and Petrowiak, to get to a tie at 8, before Petrowiak connected on a service ace to take the Jaguar’s first lead of the contest.

After the Knights fought to tie again at 10, Petrowiak reversed roles to dish out an assist to Nagorske, then won a battle at the net to take a 15-11 advantage. Riley Benton connected on one of her three service aces to put the Jaguars ahead 17-13, then another Nagorske to Petrowiak connection put the Jaguar lead at 19-16.

Kambria Steinhaus set up Nagorske for a kill, and four Knight hitting errors gave the Jaguars Game 1, 25-18.

Among the Jaguar seniors, Kiana Preston totaled 18 digs, while Kaelynn Meixell dug out nine spikes and served 10-for-15 and Benton had two kills and two service aces. Petrowiak controlled the senior performance with 14 kills, seven digs and nine total blocks with six solo. Stauter totaled seven digs, two blocks and three kills.

Diagnau added four kills, Kambria Steinhaus led the team with 20 digs and Nagorske added 14 digs to the Jaguar defense.

The Jaguars (1-7) play host to Madelia in a rescheduled matchup at 12:30 p.m. today in Granada.

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