Randi Mehus goes to the floor to keep this ball in play against Rushford-Peterson.
Randi Mehus goes to the floor to keep this ball in play against Rushford-Peterson.

Spring Grove's volleyball team played three matches last week, finishing 2-1 and extending their record to 12-10, 7-3 in SEC play.

SG (L) vs. R-P 25-23, 23-25, 20-25, 25-22, 10-15

"We were unable to make adjustments to stop the strong arm of Amy Todd," Spring Grove coach Kelsey Morken said of Monday's five-set match versus Rushford-Peterson. Trojan hitting made the difference in the tightly contested match and only got better as play progressed.

Spring Grove hit with 17% efficiency, its third best of the season, but it was not enough. The Trojans' 26% was the highest hitting efficiency of any non-tournament Lion opponent this season.

Randi Mehus had 15 kills along with a Lion-best 20 digs. Lion scoring was led by Nicki Ellingson with 14 kills and five ace blocks.

Also recording more kills than errors were Tara Solberg with 7 put-aways, Aly Folz with three and Addison Cross with two. Cross fueled the offense with 35 set assists.

Spring Grove had 19 more attacks but 18 fewer kills than R-P. Figuring in blocks and hitting misfires, R-P outscored Spring Grove 87-78 at the net. Both teams served above 90 percent but had more errors than aces. The Lions held a three-point edge in scoring from the service lines.

"We did do a nice job working hard and maintaining composure when we were behind," Morken said.

The final point was scored by Todd who paced R-P with an amazing 39 kills, 2 blocks and an ace serve. R-P senior Jordan Goree had 15 kills. Emily Wade supplied 56 set assists while Kendra Crawford had 34 digs.

Both offenses struggled most in the first set, in which the Trojans had over one-third (15) of their total errors (42). Spring Grove fell behind 6-0 but caught up at 13-all. Then the set was tied 10 times until the Lions won it with an Ellingson kill and a scoring block from Heidi Buxengard.

It was the same 25-23 score in the second set when each team had 12 kills, but the Trojans held a 3-1 edge in blocks. R-P had led 19-11 before the Lions caught up at 20-all with an ace serve from Solberg. Three kills from three different Trojans then evened the match at one set all.

R-P won set three 25-20 with 16 kills to only 9 for Spring Grove. The Lions' lone lead came early at 8-7.

The Lions enjoyed their best hitting of the night while coming back to take set four 25-22. R-P maintained a strong attack, but the Lions won with a 3-0 edge in ace blocks and a 2-1 margin in ace serves.

The Trojan front line saved its best for last with a match-best 39 percent fifth-set efficiency (10 kills, 1 error). A four-point run put the Trojans up, 6-3. Spring Grove recovered and tied it at 10-all, but R-P scored the final five points with four kills from three different players.

SG (W) at Hope Lutheran 25-18, 25-15, 27-25

The Lions breezed through the first two sets but had to score 27 points to take the final one in Tuesday's match. Both teams had significantly higher hitting success than in the 3-0 Spring Grove win earlier this season, as the Lions attacked efficiently overall (22 percent) but the Patriots only hit well in the third set. After only 7 kills in the first two sets combined, Hope achieved 10 kills in set three.

Seven Lions attacked with more kills than errors. Ellingson (only 1 error) and Folz (only 2 errors) led with eight kills each. Mehus hit 7 winners at the net. Solberg and setter Cross each put away 5 kills. Buxengard had 3 kills while Sierra Hunter added one. Cross had 29 set assists.

Dakota Ellinghuysen and Brianna Cripps had 6 kills each for Hope, but the Lions enjoyed a 38-17 margin in kills.

Spring Grove continued to serve consistently at 92 percent (10 kills, 6 errors) with the Patriots at 86 percent (6 kills, 8 errors).

Five Lions served aces. Cross, with a match-high 4 service aces, and Folz with one each scored 9 points overall when adding in their kills.

Samantha Bratland served 11 for 11 with 2 aces. Buxengard served only four times but also had 2 aces to close out the second set. Solberg served one ace and had the lone Lion ace block.

Spring Grove took control of set one with an early six-point run featuring two aces, a kill and an assist from Cross. In that first set, the Pats scored 13 of their 18 points on Lion mistakes.

In set two, the Lions hit better and served better on the way to 25-15 win.

Hope managed more winners than errors in the third set only. The Patriots jumped ahead 5-1, and the Lions played from behind almost until the end.

Hope had a service error when serving for the set at 25-24, then a Solberg kill put Spring Grove ahead 26-25, and the match ended with a Patriot ball-handling error

SG (W) at L-O 25-17, 21-25, 25-22, 25-21

LeRoy-Ostrander recorded the fewest errors per set and the highest serving percentage of any Lion opponent this season, pushing Spring Grove in a competitive four-set match on Oct. 4.

For the Lions, good passing and plenty of hitting saved the day as they won not by hitting better, but by hitting more often. LeRoy-Ostrander (14-5, 7-3 SEC West) held a slight edge in hitting efficiency (23 percent to 22 percent). But with 42 more attacks, Spring Grove had 21 more kills.

With a season-high 62 kills, every Lion hitter had more kills than miscues. Ellingson had a career-high 29 kills and scored 36 points in all with a match-best 6 blocks and a service ace.

Bratland scored 11 times with 7 kills, 2 blocks and 2 ace serves. Solberg had 8 kills while Folz put away 7 along with 2 ace serves.

Mehus had 6 kills and served 3 aces. Cross had 51 set assists in addition to 5 kills. Buxengard came in to serve only three times (3 for 3) with one ace.

Spring Grove led for most of set one, but led only 19-17 before closing with a 6-0 run that featured a kill and block from Ellingson and 2 ace serves from Folz.

L-O won the second set when Lion hitting efficiency dropped to 8 percent. It was tied 12-all when L-O took four straight points. The Lions never caught up but saved three set points before the Cards evened the match.

Spring Grove hitting revived in set three, as the Lions separated with an early 6-0 run including two kills and a block from Ellingson and with kills from Solberg and Mehus. L-O came back to trail 23-22 before kills from Folz and Bratland ended it.

Both teams had their best hitting by far in set four, but Spring Grove had 15 more attacks to outscore L-O at the net 21-18. Spring Grove took the lead for good with a 5-1 run for a 17-12 lead.

Again the Cards edged back to within two points (23-21) before the visitors closed out the match with an Ellingson kill and an ace serve from Mehus.

Up Next: Just prior to the Herald's press deadline on Oct. 8, SG played Caledonia in a non-conference match that included a "Block Out Cancer" fund-raising event. The Warriors won 3-0 (25-8, 25-12, 25-12). The Lions hosted Houston on Tuesday night, two days before Lanesboro comes calling on the 11th.

On Oct. 16, the team travels to Glenville-Emmons for the final regular-season match. Sub-section play starts on Oct. 22.

Southeast Conference 2012

conf. season



Mabel-Canton* 10- 0 25- 5 - 0

Spring Grove 7 - 3 12-10 - 0

Houston 7 - 3 9 -14 - 0

Hope Lutheran 2 - 7 5 -14 - 0

Lanesboro 1 - 9 1 -14 - 0


LeRoy-Ostrander* 7 - 3 14- 5 - 0

Grand Meadow 7 - 3 12- 9 - 0

Lyle/Pacelli 5 - 5 7 -11 - 0

Glenville-Emmons 3 - 7 5 -15 - 0

Schaeffer Academy 0 - 9 0 -15- 0

* defending champion