HIBBING — While the Hibbing High School volleyball team fell in three straight games to Duluth Denfeld Thursday night, the Bluejackets did make it hard on the favored Hunters in a couple of the games.
Hibbing was able to play Denfeld tough in both the first and third games in action at the Lincoln School Gymnasium in Hibbing, but in the end the Hunters were just too much for the Bluejackets as Denfeld won 3-0, 25-19, 25-7, 25-21.
“When our offense gets going, we have some pretty nice hitters there,” said Denfeld coach Pete Stasiuk. “It is kind of fun to watch sometimes. But Hibbing played us tough at the start and we just had to get it back together a little bit and get our offense going. It just takes a little bit of focus; we do get down and sometimes we have a slow start.
“We just have a tendency to get our act together a little bit and start playing the way we can play.”
Stasiuk felt that his team’s serving and passing were good in the match on Thursday and were key reasons for the Hunters’ victory. He said as a result, it is difficult for opponents to defend the Hunter hitters.
“I think we passed really well; that is the big key when the passing gets us in system and it makes it pretty tough to defend those hitters,” Stasiuk said.
Hibbing coach Sarah McGough said her team played well in the first and third games against a good Denfeld team.
“I am not disappointed in the least on how we played,” McGough said. “I think the only thing we have to look more at is when we have an opportunity to put a ball down, we need to commit to that. Tonight I think we had 13 kills and 13 errors so statistically that is not in our favor.
“Our defense was good. In the first and third games our feet were moving, our serve receive was better and we were more disciplined. And, I definitely saw improvement
within the games.”
Hibbing came out and put the Hunters on their heels early in the first game as it led 10-5. The Bluejackets led as late as 18-17, but Denfeld’s power at the net was evident late in the game. With the game tied at 19-19, the Hunters scored the last six points with sophomore setter Sydney Larson recording three ace serves – including the winning point – in the run as Duluth won 25-19.
Hibbing could get nothing going in the second game as the Hunters were in control from start to finish. Denfeld forged leads of 10-5 and 19-6 en route to a 25-7 victory.
Hibbing played the Hunters tough in the third game after trailing 13-7 at one point. Hibbing scored the next five points to pull to within 13-12, but Denfeld pulled away again. Trailing 22-17, the Bluejackets made a final run at Denfeld as a kill from Bethany Carlsen, two Hunter hitting errors and a Denfeld net violation had them behind 22-21.
However, Denfeld turned up its intensity and used a kill and a block from Alli Ahlers along with a kill from Ashley Larson to record the final three points to win the game 25-21.
Stasiuk said his team has been forced to start over after its starting right-side hitter was injured for two weeks and maybe more. With little time remaining in the regular season, he said it is not a good time for that to happen.
“We have to try some new lineups and we did that in the third game,” Stasiuk said. “We didn’t play our best. The positions were different and at the end of the game it is still volleyball and they still have to do their jobs. They had a little trouble with that but that is going to happen with new positions. We have some stuff to work on.”
Hibbing senior Emily Paulsen said the first and third sets were good for Hibbing. She said the Bluejackets did a good job of getting to the ball and picking things up in the first and third sets.
“We were able to keep going with Denfeld and not let down,” Paulsen said. “I hope that our defense can continue to pick up balls and not let them hit the floor. We just want to keep playing the best that we can and hopefully get a win and keep going in the playoffs and not lose in the first match.”
Caitlin Schneeweis finished with 18 kills for Denfeld while Ashley Larson had 12. Sadee Kidd and Ahlers both had six kills. Jordyn Maas finished with 39 set assists.
Aysia Skalsky had three kills, three blocks and a dig for Hibbing while Paige Mammenga had two blocks and an ace serve. Alli Peterson finished with 10 digs and Haley Hawkinson had five kills, two blocks and three digs. Emily Paulsen recorded four ace serves and three digs while Juliea Greenwood had two kills, four blocks and six digs. Samantha Murrer finished with one kill, four blocks and three digs and Alyss Pierson had 10 set assists, two ace serves, one kill and three digs. Carlsen finished with one kill.
“I think one word comes to mind, and that is taking the ‘me’ and putting in the ‘we.’ If they do that, I think they would be surprised in what they can do,” McGough explained. “I have a lot of faith in this group that they can go as far as they want. I don’t care what our overall wins and losses are, it’s a mind deal. It’s up to them. We’ve given them all the resources and they need to utilize them.”
Two Harbors 3
ESKO — The Agates picked up the shutout victory in the Section 7A first-round contest to end the Bluejackets season.
No other information was available on the contest.