Lions middle hitter Nicole Ellingson attacks against Mabel-Canton blocker Christy Welscher in last week’s SEC match.
Lions middle hitter Nicole Ellingson attacks against Mabel-Canton blocker Christy Welscher in last week’s SEC match.

On Sept. 4, Spring Grove returned to Mabel-Canton to take on the state-ranked No. 8 Cougars, but could find no chinks in their armor. Mabel-Canton prevailed in straight sets, 25-11, 25-17, 25-10.

The Lions made their best run on the home team in the second set. Down 16-8, SG scored six straight points featuring kills from Nicki Ellingson and setter Addison Cross and ace blocks from Ellingson and Samantha Bratland.

After calling a timeout, however, the Cougars closed out the set with an 8-3 run. In the third set, there were six early tie scores before M-C ran off six straight points with 4 kills, an ace block and an ace serve.

By the time it was over, Mabel-Canton was only one point short of doubling up the Lions, 75-38. The Cougars held a 7-0 advantage in service aces, but the match was largely decided at the net.

Spring Grove (4-5, 1-1 SEC) created attacks but had more hitting mishaps than kills. In fact, each team had almost the same number of attacks (SG 103, M-C 102) but the Cougars had twice as many kills (34-17) and far fewer hitting errors (9) than did the Lions (23).

Ellingson led Spring Grove with four kills and four blocks for scores, but the only Lions with more kills than hitting miscues were Tara Solberg and Addison Cross, each with three kills.

In fact, the Lions' only stat advantage came with 5-1 edge in scoring blocks. All five came in the second set, with four by Ellingson and one from Bratland.

Spring Grove used primarily a nine-player rotation including libero Aryn Jahnke. Cross was credited with 13 assists, 10 digs.

For the Cougars, two-time conference player of the year, 5-foot, 7-inch junior Belle Sand led all scorers with 10 kills and three ace serves. Sara Lind finished with 7 kills and only one error. Lydia Geving contributed 6 kills and 2 aces. In total, six Cougars had three or more kills.

"Mabel-Canton came out tough and we helped them out to a pretty convincing win due to our unforced errors in attacking and team communication," Lions coach Kelsey Morken reported.

"We are having a hard time being consistent and efficient in our attacking. It is something we will need to focus on this week before our upcoming matches."

M-C coach Lonnie Morken expressed a lot of respect for the Lions. "They are always very solid and make you work for every point you get," he noted.

"I thought our serving and serve receive were great again. It allowed our setter Carly McCabe to set a variety of hitters. It was an important conference victory for us early in the season."

The Lions have a busy week scheduled, hosting Hope Lutheran on Sept. 11, Grand Meadow on the 13th, and then traveling to Waukon for a tournament on Saturday.

Southeast Conference 2012

conf. season



Mabel-Canton* 3 - 0 10- 0 - 0

Houston 2 - 1 3 - 8 - 0

Spring Grove 1 - 1 4 - 5 - 0

Hope Lutheran 1 - 2 3 - 2 - 0

Lanesboro 1 - 2 1 - 3 - 0


LeRoy-Ostrander* 2 - 1 5 - 2 - 0

Grand Meadow 2 - 1 3 - 2 - 0

Lyle/Pacelli 1 - 1 1 - 2 - 0

Glenville-Emmons 1 - 2 1 - 2 - 0

Schaeffer Academy 0 - 3 0 - 3 - 0

* defending champion