Samantha Bratland battles above the net in 3-1 Lion victory against Grand Meadow.
Samantha Bratland battles above the net in 3-1 Lion victory against Grand Meadow.
The Spring Grove girls (8-7, 3-1 SEC) hosted and won two Southeast Conference volleyball matches last week against Hope Lutheran and Grand Meadow before winning a pair and dropping a pair of Saturday matches at the Waukon Tournament.

SG vs. Hope Lutheran

On Sept. 11, the Lions survived a back-and-forth error-prone first set with visiting Hope Lutheran before taking control. The Lions went on to win in straight sets, 25-22, 25-16, 25-17.

Over half of the Lions' hitting errors and five of their six errant serves came in the first set, which was tied nine times. It was 20-20 when Spring Grove broke away for the win with three Patriot errors and kills from Aly Folz and Heidi Buxengard.

Attacking miscues continued as Spring Grove slipped behind 5-1 in the second set. But then the Lions enjoyed their most consistent and productive attacking streak of the night to win 25-16.

"Hope Lutheran came at us with an aggressive serving team which put us on our heels for a little bit, and we had to adjust," coach Kelsey Morken reported.

"Their much improved defense made for a good match. We got some good play from Aly Folz, who stepped up and made some smart decisions for us."

Spring Grove never trailed in the third set, starting with two quick kills by Randi Mehus and an ace block by Nicole Ellingson. On the night, Folz notched six kills and Mehus had five. Each attacked without a misfire. With more kills than errors, Tara Solberg put away five winners and Buxengard three.

Addison Cross guided the attack with 20 set assists and served 18 for 19 with three aces. Samantha Bratland served 13 for 14 with another three aces. Five different Lions served aces with one each from Folz, Mehus and Solberg. Libero Aryn Jahnke was the dig leader with six.

While Spring Grove had more kills and ace serves than errors, Hope did not. The Patriots' only statistical advantage came with a 3-2 edge in ace blocks. Dakota Ellinghuysen contributed 10 kills, while Tiahia Aune had 10 digs.

SG vs. Grand Meadow

The Lions hosted the Superlarks in an evenly contested match on Sept. 13, winning three sets to one.

"It was a fun game to play in and be at," Morken said. "Tara Solberg came up really big tonight with many big kills even though she got elbowed in the head earlier in the match. We were able to get an edge in the serving area. We looked more cohesive tonight as a team but are still working towards improving our attacking efficiency."

Solberg's 10 kills led the Lions. Ellingson put away seven while Mehus and Folz each slammed six. Bratland notched another three kills. Setter Cross had 28 assists, three kills, six digs, a block and two aces. Mehus had 14 digs, while Folz had 10 and Solberg eight. Aryn Jahnke had seven digs.

Joining Cross with un-returnable serves were Bratland with four aces and Folz with two.

For Grand Meadow, Cortney Olson led with 14 kills. Audra Durhman went 23-for-25 serving with three aces. She also had 8 kills. Autumn Thorsen had 26 assists. Ashley Crumb got 16 digs.

The Superlarks were poised to force a fifth set with a 20-17 lead in set four. Spring Grove called a time out and then won five straight points to take a 22-20 lead on the way to ending the match with a 25-23 win.

Each team had about the same number of errors (SG 39, GM 41), but the Lions won with seven more service aces, six more kills and four more ace blocks that did the Super Larks.

The Superlarks (5-4, 3-2 SEC) served themselves into a hole with more errant serves than aces in each set.

A 7-0 run in the first set gave the Lions an eight-point lead on the way to a three-point win (25-22). In set two, Spring Grove tied the score 14 times but could never take the lead. A 20-20 tie was broken by a pair of Lion hitting errors. GM then closed it out with an ace serve, an ace block and a kill.

Seven of the Lions' 13 aces came in set three, a surprisingly one-sided 25-12 Spring Grove victory.

The Larks did not fold and led 11-4 in set four before Spring Grove made a gradual comeback. The Lions regained the lead at 16-15, but gave it back with four misfires at the net. Down 20-17, the Lions closed out the match with an 8-3 run (25-23).

Waukon Tourney results

When 12 teams from around the region met at the Waukon Volleyball Tournament on Sept. 16, Spring Grove was there along with some familiar faces from Hope Lutheran and Houston.

The Lions began pool play versus Crestwood, losing 19-21, 14-21. Ellingson contributed two ace blocks and four kills. Cross made 14 set assists, while Jahnke contributed nine digs. Solberg had 8 digs.

MFL/Mar-Mac was next. The Lions defeated the Bulldogs 21-10, 21-9. Solberg had five kills, while Cross supplied 11 set assists.

The result was the same against DeSoto, as the Lions prevailed 21-13, 21-11. Cross had 14 set assists in the match, while Ellingson finished some of those with 8 kills. Mehus had five digs as did Jahnke and Lauren Arneson.

Entering "Gold Division" play, the Lions were bumped off in a tight match against Turkey Valley, 23-25, 25-18, 11-15. Solberg came up with 7 kills and 8 digs, while Cross had 20 set assists. Ellingson scored with 4 ace blocks and 7 kills. Jahnke had 5 digs. Bratland put away 5 kills. Mehus sent home 6 kills along with 4 digs.

"I felt we could have played with any of the teams there," Morken noted. "We just weren't able to get it together enough to finish matches. We also played half of the day without our starting right side Aly Folz who was ill."

"We finished second in our pool then were seated fourth in the Gold Bracket. We played Turkey Valley, the fifth seed, and lost in three. We finished 2-2 on the day and finished within the top half of the teams.

"We are going to continue to work on disciplining our side of the net so we can cut down opponents' runs and play consistent throughout entire sets and matches. We did see improved play throughout the day from many players, so that was exciting."

Spring Grove hit the SEC Eastern Division road this week, with a match-up at Houston on Sept. 18 and a visit to Lanesboro on the 20th.

Southeast Conference 2012

conf. season

VOLLEYBALL W L W L T

EAST

Mabel-Canton* 4 - 0 11- 1 - 0

Spring Grove 3 - 1 8 - 7 - 0

Houston 3 - 2 5 -13 - 0

Hope Lutheran 1 - 4 3 - 4 - 0

Lanesboro 1 - 4 1 - 9 - 0

WEST

LeRoy-Ostrander* 4 - 1 7 - 2 - 0

Grand Meadow 3 - 2 6 - 5 - 0

Glenville-Emmons 2 - 2 3 - 5 - 0

Lyle/Pacelli 2 - 2 4 - 8 - 0

Schaeffer Academy 0 - 5 0 -10- 0

* defending champion