Saints 3-0 over BEA
The SJA volleyball team opened South Central Conference play last Thursday by sweeping the visiting BEA Bucs 3-0.
The Saints prevailed 25-21, 25-17 and 25-18. Blue Earth Area is the defending SCC champ, so a win before a boisterous hometown crowd was a great way to start the conference season.
Saints Head Coach Steve Chapin said, “A great team effort again.”
The games were close, but the Saints were just a little bit better each time.
The first game set the tone of how the three games were going to be played out. The Saints burst out to a 6-1 lead, but BEA tightened it up and actually took the lead at 9-10.
The Saints got it back at 16-15, but the Bucs came back and took a 20-17. At that time, the girls from St. James Area showed they had the right stuff and went on an 8-1 run to win the first game.
Chapin said, “It was fun to see our kids rally from four points down in game one to come back to win that game.”
Both teams demonstrated an ability to play long points, but the Saints won most of those volleys. Brenda Cervantes, Lindzey Hanson and Julia Beckius served well during different times of the game to help the Saints win.
The Saints won the second game 25-17. BEA took a 1-3 lead, but the Saints overtook the Bucs early in the game and methodically kept building on the score. The Saints were ahead at 9-7, then built that to 20-13 and they scored their last five while giving up four.
In game three BEA had a 5-6 lead, but couldn’t hold it as the Saints just ground their opponents down in the warm gym.
Janelle Larson got the kill shot that put BEA away. Her teammates mobbed her and congratulated her on the winning shot.
“It’s really great to see Janelle Larson, our senior captain, get in tonight and get the kill to end the match. Janelle is a great teammate and leader of this team,” Coach Chapin said.
The team played well together and showed balance when it came to offensive and defensive statistics - except for assists as Emily Bottem got all of the team’s 25 assists.
Julia Beckius got seven of the team’s 14 kills. Brenda and Liz Reckow each had two. Serving showed great balance as Emily was 12 of 13, Lindzey was 12 of 15, Brenda was 10 of 11 and Allison Brandts was a perfect 9 for 9. Julia and Liz also had 9 successful serves.
The defensive stats were also balanced. On service receptions Julia had 11, Allison and Lindzey had 7 and Liz had 6.
Digs were also spread among several players. The team had 33 with Brenda having 8, Julia had 6 and Liz and Allison had 5 each.
Katy Hedlund had the team’s 2 blocks. Talking about Katy’s play, the head coach said, “I thought Katy Hedlund had a really nice night blocking and she changed some of the things that BEA did which allowed for our defense to have an easier time.
“It’s fun to see kids like Brenda Cervantes stand out defensively. Brenda also had a great night at the service line as well.”
The chemistry on this team is good and Coach Chapin noted, “This is a fun team that really supports each other. Fun to see a lot of kids have some opportunities.”
Fairmont 3, Saints 1
On Monday the Saints hit the road to Fairmont and the team was scorched by the Cardinals 3 games to 1.
SJA won the first match 25-23, but dropped the next three by the scores of 18-25, 21-25, 17-25.
Julia Beckius had 12 kills. Emily Bottem had 28 assists. Allison Brandts had 24 service receptions and led the defensive effort with 12 digs.
Allison also had the most successful serves and the highest serving percentage against Fairmont went to Brenda Cervantes with a .867 percent.
Coach Chapin summed up the games, “We came out to a nice start. It was fun to see the kids with a great amount of focus on serve and also our defense. As the match progressed, Fairmont began to serve better also played great defense as well.
“I really like that no matter what the score, our kids are fighting for every point. We need to be able to compete at a higher level against taller teams. We can beat a bigger team but we must out quick them and out smart them. Fairmont is a very tall team.”
Windom 3-0 over SJA
Playing on the road for the second night in a row, the Saints dropped three games to Windom by the scores of 7-25, 20-25, 14-25.
Julia Beckius led the Saints in kills, digs and service receptions. Emily Bottem led in assists and Brenda Cervantes led in successful serves, served at 1.000 percent and led the team in aces.
Coach Chapin said, “This was a rough match for us. We are not playing at our highest level right now. Our goal is to play better and to keep improving.
“We have taken a little backward step, but I really think the players will bounce back and we will get a better focus as we continue. Tonight we got out served and out hit. We need to improve our concentration on this part of our game.”