Spencer 25-20-19-25-15, ELC 12-25-25-19-13: On the verge of victory
Tied two games apiece and with a 13-10 lead in game five, the Estherville Lincoln Central volleyball team had Spencer on the ropes as much as any team can be.
Then the momentum abruptly swung toward the Tigers who scored the final five points.
Spencer senior Kelley Gerdeman tipped to an open spot, ELC’s Kelsie McCauley then hit the out-of-bound pole trying to go down the line with the ball. The Tigers came up with another kill, a block and an ace serve to come up with a 25-12, 21-25, 19-25, 25-19, 15-13 win.
While ELC coach Tyler Johnson and his squad were disappointed with the loss, he said the Midgettes played as well as they have all season.
“This might have been the best we’ve played this year,” he said. “And this is the time when we want to play well.”
Spencer and ELC meet in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs on Monday, Oct. 27 and Johnson said the Tigers will know they’ll have a battle on their hands.
However, the opening of Tuesday’s match appeared to be all Spencer.
The Tigers jumped out to a 7-1 lead and while ELC got within 8-6, Spencer went on a run and won easily.
ELC held the early lead in game two, but when Spencer rallied to take a one-point lead at 12-11, the match didn’t look good for the home team.
Coach Johnson took a time out.
“I told them they looked like the match was already over,” he said. “Then we got some confidence and started having more fun. When we play with emotion, we play better defensively, we hit better and serve better.”
The Tigers pulled further away and looked in control with a 21-15 lead.
Then the momentum suddenly swung big in ELC’s direction as the Midgettes rattled off the final 10 points behind the serving of Anna Bruns.
During the run, Taylor Larson hit a couple kills and she and Vos came up with three straight blocks at one point. Bruns had two aces and the match ended on a block by the Midgettes.
Game three followed a similar scenario with ELC taking the early lead. Spencer led late though with an 18-15 advantage when ELC began a 10-1 run for the match.
That included three ace serves from Caitlyn Swisher as ELC took a 20-18 lead.
After Spencer scored what would be their final point of the game, Vos again came up with a block followed by a kill from McCauley. After a Tiger hitting error, Bruns served up an ace and McCauley ended the match with a kill.
In game four, Spencer took the lead early on and maintained a three to five point advantage.
ELC rallied within two at 20-18, but this time, the Tigers came up with the big hits to close out the game.
The Midgettes had all the momentum though at the start of the game five. ELC won the first point on a long rally followed by an ace serve from Bruns. Larson won a battle at the net for point number three and McCauley pushed the ball off the top of the Tiger block for a 4-0 ELC lead.
The Tigers came back to cut the lead to two and had the gap at 10-9.
Hannah Beernink came up with a kill and a block for the next two points and then had another kill for a 13-10 ELC lead before Spencer ended the match with the 5-0 run.
Beernink and McCauley each had 10 kills in the game and Beernink and Vos each had five blocks. Vos had 29 set assists.
Bruns was 22-of-25 serving.
Larson had a team-high 14 digs and Megan Woods had 13.
ELC ends Lakes Conference play on Thursday at home with Spirit Lake.