After more than a week without a match, the Estherville Lincoln Central volleyball team showed improvement in earning its first win over cross-county rival Armstrong-Ringsted.
A strong finish in the first game, followed by strong serving from Caitlyn Swisher in game two and solid play in the third game led to a 3-0 win by scores of 25-23, 25-16 and 25-19.
“It was nice to get the win. We needed it to gain some confidence,” said ELC coach Tyler Johnson.
The coach said he was a little concerned in game one when ELC held a 22-17 lead and A-R cut the deficit to two.
The Midgets held on though.
“We played a little looser tonight,” he said. “In the second and third games, we also did a better job of handling the free balls.”
For the Mustangs, coach Sandy Tigges’ team still has a few things to work on.
“The worst enemy is themselves,” she said of her players. “They just need to get a little confidence.”
The first game started slowly with ELC holding a one-point lead at 10-9.
The Midgets pulled ahead with a 6-1 run which included two kills by Kelsie McCauley and a pair of hitting errors by A-R.
A kill by Taylar Jacobson gave ELC a 16-10 lead.
ELC took its biggest lead of game one when McCauley scored three straight points on a kill and two ace serves for a 20-13 advantage.
A-R slowly began a comeback and cut the deficit to 21-17 on an ace serve by Amy Leach.
A few hitting errors by ELC allowed the Mustangs back in the game.
A-R tied the match at 23-23, but after a timeout by Johnson, the Midgettes closed out the game on kills by Kelsey Shatto and Taylor Larson. Shatto had six of her team-high eight kills in the first game.
In the second game, Swisher tied the game at 3-3 with a kill then went back to the service line where she served 12 straight points including five aces that gave ELC a 15-3 advantage.
The Mustangs got as close as 24-15 on an ace by Brianne Gonzales, but ELC closed out the match on a kill by Hannah Beernink.
A-R jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the third game, helped by a couple net calls against ELC and poor passing by the Midgettes.
The Midgettes rallied to tie the game at 6-6 which included two kills by Swisher.
A kill by Swisher at 8-7 followed by another by Shatto gave ELC the lead for good.
A-R kept the game within three to five points most of the game.
However after cutting the deficit to two at 21-19 on an ace serve by Gonzales, ELC rattled off the final four points on a kill by Larson, a block by Kaylene Vos and Beernink and two ace serves by Swisher.
Swisher was 17-for-19 serving with eight aces. She also had five kills and two blocks.
McCauley had five kills while Vos at 27 set assists and five blocks.
Taylor Larson led the back-row defense with eight digs.
ELC had 17 ace serves on the night.
“Overall we served much better,” said Johnson.
Sanders led A-R with five kills and Gonzales had three.
A-R (2-4) hosts Sioux Central on Monday.
ELC (1-1) travels to the Spirit Lake Tournament on Saturday.