Kailee Bjerke hits past a double block at Rushford-Peterson.
Kailee Bjerke hits past a double block at Rushford-Peterson.
Spring Grove went 1-1 in SEC play last week versus LeRoy-Ostrander and Houston after dropping a non-conference match at Rushford-Peterson.

SG at R-P, Sept. 30

A six-match Lion winning streak came to an end at Rushford last week as the Trojans posted their ninth straight win over Spring Grove netters 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-17). Rushford-Peterson had also won by total points when the teams split a two-set tournament match earlier this season.

Lion hitting was below par with 25 kills (10% efficiency) while R-P (18% efficiency) had 37 kills, a season-high for Lion opponents.

R-P also posted a 7-to-2 edge in scoring blocks, out-pointing SG 44-27 at the net.

The Lions served a season-high 95% with 4 aces and 3 errors. But R-P (92%) outscored the Lions serving 9 aces with 6 miscues.

Set one (R-P 25-23) was close at the end after the teams traded scoring streaks. SG led 8-3 before a 15-3 Trojan run. Down 23-17, the Lions used a 6-1 run to get within one point (24-23) before it ended with a kill by Brianna Koop.

In set two (R-P 25-18), SG could not overcome an early 7-2 Trojan run. The Lions were only behind 18-16 when the R-P offense closed with 5 kills and an ace serve.

In the third set (R-P 25-17), the Trojans were never caught after breaking a 6-6 tie with a 6-point run. Trojan senior Sierra McNamer scored 7 of R-P's first 12 points in the set and overall led all scorers with 10 kills, 3 ace blocks and 4 ace serves.

Another R-P senior, Kate MacKenzie added 6 kills and 3 blocks. Koop put away 8 kills.

Nicki Ellingson scored 15 points for SG with 13 kills, one block, and one service ace.

Other Lions with more kills than hitting errors included Tara Solberg with 4 kills, setter Jordan Anderson with 2 kills along with 17 set assists, Kailee Bjerke with one kill plus 2 ace blocks and Sierra Hinter with one kill.

Samantha Bratland served 11 for 11 with 2 aces while Sammi Boyd went 16 for 16 with an ace.

The Trojans won both the B-team and freshmen matches by 2-0 scores.


SET ASSISTS: Jordan Anderson 17. KILLS (25): Nicki Ellingson 13, Tara Solberg 4, Jordan Anderson 2, Aly Folz 2, Kailee Bjerke 1, Sierra Hunter 1, Heidi Buxengard 1, Samantha Bratland 1.

ACE BLOCKS (3): Kailee Bjerke 2, Nicki Ellingson 1.

SERVICE ACES (4): Samantha Bratland 2, Sammi Boyd 1, Nicki Ellingson 1.

SERVING: Sammi Boyd 16 for 16, Samantha Bratland 11 for 11, Tara Solberg 10 for 10, Heidi Buxengard 5 for 5, Sierra Hunter 1 for 1, Nicki Ellingson 9 for 10, Jordan Anderson 3 for 4, Aly Folz 2 for 3.

SG vs. L-O, Oct. 1

SG never trailed while overwhelming LeRoy-Ostrander 3-0 (25-8, 25-12, 25-11). Coming off five straight SEC West championships and last year's 20-win season, the Cardinals are suffering through an uncharacteristic 2-17 season.

The Lions dominated the net with a season-high 31% hitting efficiency while L-O was at 0% with more errors (16) than kills (6), the latter a season-low for SG opponents.

However, SG served a season-low 85% with many aces (13) and numerous errors (11). L-O placed 91% of their serves inbounds but managed only 2 aces while giving away 3 points with misguided serves.

That overall strong SG hitting had a very slow start (4 kills, 4 misfires) in set one while that overall weaker serving percentage came after a very solid start of 6 aces with only 2 errors in the first set (SG 25, L-O 8). After only 4 kills in the first frame, the Lions put away 13 and 14 kills in the final two sets.

L-O mounted 62 attacks to 68 for SG, but the Cardinals could not finish at the net and had no scoring blocks.

KFIL-Radio Player of the Match for Spring Grove was Bratland who scored with 4 kills, one block and 3 ace serves (serving 18 for 20).

The KFIL Game Ball Award went to Ellingson who led all scorers with 13 points - 9 kills, 3 blocks and one ace. The L-O Player of the Match was sophomore hitter Sam Siskow.

Nine different Lions were credited with kills including libero Lauren Arneson and setter Anderson. Joining Bratland with 4 kills apiece were Bjerke, Hunter and Aly Folz.

Five SG servers had aces. Joining Bratland with 3 ace serves each were Heidi Buxengard, Anderson and Solberg.

The young B-team Lions claimed their first win of the season 2-1. The Cards won the freshman match 2-0.


SET ASSISTS (24): Jordan Anderson 31, Sammi Boyd 8.

KILLS (31): Nicki Ellingson 9, Sierra Hunter 4, Kailee Bjerke 4, Aly Folz 4, Samantha Bratland 4, Tara Solberg 3, Heidi Buxengard 1, Lauren Arneson 1, Jordan Anderson 1.

ACE BLOCKS (4): Nicki Ellingson 34, Samantha Bratland 1.

SERVICE ACES (13): Heidi Buxengard 3, Jordan Anderson 3, Tara Solberg 3, Samantha Bratland 3, Nicki Ellingson 1.

SERVING (62 for 73): Elizabeth Johnson 6 for 6, Sierra Hunter 1 for 1, Jordan Anderson 6 for 7, Sammi Boyd 6 for 7, Heidi Buxengard 5 for 6, Aly Folz 4 for 5, Carrie Hagen 1 for 2, Samantha Bratland 18 for 20, Tara Solberg 12 for 14, Nicki Ellingson 3 for 5

SG vs. Houston, Oct. 3

With a 3-2 (SG 25-23, H 28-26, H 25-15, SG 25-23, H 15-6) win at Spring Grove, Houston earned an SEC split and a share of second place with the Lions. The Hurricanes had also won a total-points tiebreaker when the teams split two sets at a Labor Day Tournament.

SG served well at 94% (91 for 98) with an 8-point scoring advantage at the service line, but it was not enough to overcome Houston's more consistent performance at the net.

The Hurricanes posted a strong 23% hitting efficiency rate while SG closed at 3%, the Lions' second lowest of the season.

When SG was successful at the net with kills, the set scores were close. The Lions won 2 of those 3 competitive sets.

When Lion hitters were ineffective, Houston won two sets by wide margins.

With 12 kills, SG won set one (25-23). With 12 kills, SG lost set two in overtime (28-26). With 11 kills, the Lions won set four (25-23). With only 2 kills in set three, the Lions fell flat (25-15). With only 2 kills in set five, SG was out of contention (15-6).

The Lions created a few more attacks than did Houston, but the Hurricanes outscored SG at the net 96 to 59.

The 'Canes stayed alive in set one with lots of help - 15 of 23 points coming from Lion errors. SG was down 22-18 before the offense kicked in and closed it on a 7-1 run (25-23 SG win).

But Houston hitters became a force in the final four sets. The Lions again played from behind for most of set two. With a late offensive surge, SG rallied from a 14-20 deficit to take a 25-24 lead before finally falling 28-26.

The Lion offense was suddenly and strangely missing in set three (Houston 25-15), but the SG attack returned in set four. This time, it was Houston that staged a late rally, but the Lions won with a Solberg kill 25-23.

So it came down to a final fifth set. Houston won (15-6) with 8 kills and no errors while the Lions floundered with 2 kills and 4 misfires.

Houston all-conference hitter Abbey Loken never left the court and excelled at every position of the rotation. The 5-foot-11 senior scored 30 times with 26 kills, 3 blocks and one ace serve. Sophomore Kelly Jerviss added 12 kills and 2 blocks.

SG countered with Ellingson accounting for 22 points with 18 kills, 3 blocks and one service ace.

Bratland put away 8 kills along with a match-high 5 blocks and 3 aces. She served 18 for 19 as did Solberg (one ace).

Boyd served 15 times with 2 aces and no errors. Anderson served 15 times with 3 aces and one error. Buxengard served 9 for 10 with an ace.

Not to be overlooked were the strong defensive efforts of Solberg, Buxengard, Arneson and Anderson, who also assisted on 33 of the 39 SG kills.

Both Lion-Hurricane SEC matches were played in front of enthusiastic home crowds, but the visiting team won both times.

Houston won the B-team and freshmen matches with 2-0 scores


SET ASSISTS (37): Jordan Anderson 33, Tara Solberg 1, Kailee Bjerke 1

KILLS (39): Nicki Ellingson 18, Samantha Bratland 8, Tara Solberg 6, Jordan Anderson 3, Kailee Bjerke 2, Aly Folz 2

ACE BLOCKS (9): Samantha Bratland 5, Nicki Ellingson 3, Aly Folz 1.

SERVICE ACES (12): Samantha Bratland 3, Jordan Anderson 3, Sammi Boyd 2, Tara Solberg 1, Nicki Ellingson 1, Heidi Buxengard 1, Aly Folz 1

SERVING (91 for 98): Sammi Boyd 15 for 15, Samantha Bratland 18 for 19, Tara Solberg 18 for 19, Jordan Anderson 14 for 15, Nicki Ellingson 14 for 15, Heidi Buxengard 9 for 10, Aly Folz 3 for 5

SEC standings


Mabel-Canton 11-0 SEC (28-2 season)

Spring Grove 8-3 (16-9)

Houston 8-3 (14-10)

Hope Lutheran 6-5 (11-10)

Lanesboro 1-10 (2-13)


Lyle/Pacelli 7-4 SEC (11-11 season)

Grand Meadow 7-4 (11-12)

Schaeffer Academy 4-7 (4-11)

Glenville-Emmons 2-9 (2-14)

LeRoy-Ostrander 1-10 (2-18)

Class A State Coaches Poll - Oct. 7

Rank (previous week)) team record

1 (2) Minneota 20-1

2 (1) Fillmore Central 24-2

3 (3) Southwest Christian 15-22

4 (4) Win-E-Mac 20-2

5 (6) Mabel-Canton 27-22

6 (7) Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 15-5

7 (5) Bethlehem Academy 10-8

8 (9) Nevis 12-4

9 (NR) Hayfield 14-5

10 (8) Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 16-7