Sammi Boyd passes from the back row at Lanesboro in between Lion teammates Elizabeth Johnson (#7) and Tara Solberg (#2).
Sammi Boyd passes from the back row at Lanesboro in between Lion teammates Elizabeth Johnson (#7) and Tara Solberg (#2).
Spring Grove (13-7, 5-2 SEC) split a pair of conference volleyball matches last week before winning the championship of the 12-team Saturday tournament at Waukon.

SG at Lanesboro, Sept. 17

The Lions played from behind for much of evening but still defeated the Burros on Tuesday night, 3-1.

After scoring the first 7 points, SG rolled to a 25-18 win in set one (SG 25-18). Things changed in set two (SG 25-20) with the Lions down early before moving in front 15-14 during a 6-point run.

Combining for three times as many winning points as errors, both teams played their best volleyball during set three (LHS 26-24). The Lions again played from behind most of the way - by as many as 6 points before a 9-point Samantha Bratland service run.

Up 24-21, SG had a chance to become only the second team to sweep the Burros in straight sets (state-ranked Mabel- Canton performed the feat on September 12). But 2 ace serves by Hongerholt and 2 kills from Howerton helped the Burros score the final five points and force a fourth set.

In that final frame (SG 25-17), the visitors from SG were down once again 11-6 before pulling ahead with a 13-1 scoring streak.

"We were pleased overall with the outcome," SG Coach Michelle Anderson said, "but we still need to work on maintaining our focus and intensity throughout all sets of the match. Our overall consistency in a number of areas of the game needs to improve as well. There are many instances of awesome effort and plays; we just need to stay at that high level of play for longer periods."

Both teams served 14 aces and blocked for 8 points, but the Lions held a 39 to 29 edge in kills. SG attacked with 16% efficiency with the Burros at 9%

Nicki Ellingson had team highs with 6 scoring blocks and 14 kills with only 4 hitting errors. Tara Solberg put in a season-high 10 kills with only one miscue at the net. Bratland had twice as many kills (6) as misfires. Jordan Anderson assisted on 31 of the Lions' 39 kills

Bratland was effective at the line for SG with 6 aces and only 1 error while serving 24 for 25. Also with more aces than errors were Sammi Boyd (20 for 20, 1 ace), Anderson (12 for 12, 1 ace), Aly Folz (6 for 6, 1 ace) and Heidi Buxengard (4 aces).

For LHS, Regan Howerton scored 10 points with 6 kills, 3 blocks and 1 ace serve. Burro Olivia Haug also tallied 10 with 3 kills, 1 block and 6 service aces. Kaia Hongerholt led at the net with 8 kills and 1 block.

Lanesboro won the B-team match 2-1 and also the freshman contest 2-0.


SET ASSISTS: Jordan Anderson 31, Kailee Bjerke 1.

KILLS (39): Nicki Ellingson 14, Tara Solberg 10, Samantha Bratland 6, Aly Folz 4, Lauren Arneson 2, Sierra Hunter 1, Jordan Anderson 1, Kailee Bjerke 1.

ACE BLOCKS (8): Nicki Ellingson 6, Aly Folz 1, Samantha Bratland 1.

SERVICE ACES (14): Samantha Bratland 6, Heidi Buxengard 4, Sammi Boyd 1, Tara Solberg 1, Jordan Anderson 1, Aly Folz 1

SG vs. Mabel-Canton, Sept. 19

The Lions broke in their brand-new gymnasium floor on Thursday with a long-delayed home opener. Unfortunately for the hosts, their guests were the No. 5 ranked team in Class A in the state.

Spring Grove held leads in all three sets but was eventually overtaken each time by Mabel-Canton, 25-22, 25-15, 25-14.

The Cougars (15-0, 7-0 SEC) closed the final two sets with lengthy scoring streaks, but set one went down to the wire after seven lead changes and 15 tie scores.

The Lions led 20-19 in the first set (M-C 25-22) before the Cougar offense received kills from three different players and Lydia Geving closed it out with a pair of ace serves. M-C committed half (11) of their total 22 errors in set one.

Spring Grove led for most of set two (M-C 25-15) before the Cougars gained their first lead while scoring the final 12 points.

SG had a slim 9-8 lead in set three (M-C 25-14) before M-C ran off four straight points. The Lions trailed only 16-14 until 2 kills and 2 blocks from Sara Lind sparked a closing 9-point Cougar run assuring M-C's 45th straight win in the series. Overall, Lind led all scorers with 9 kills and 5 blocks

M-C also received 8 kills from Belle Sand and 6 each from Geving and setter Carly McCabe. Geving also scored with 3 ace serves.

For SG, Ellingson scored with 10 kills, one block and an ace serve. Solberg added 5 kills while Anderson supplied 18 set assists.

Each team had about the same number of off-target attacks (SG 14, M-C 13), but the Cougars scored with 34 kills to the Lions' 21. That resulted in a 23% hitting efficiency rating for M-C, the highest of any SG opponent this season. The Lions' 8% was their lowest except for their 0% in the first match versus the Cougars.

With both teams serving 89%, neither prospered at the service line. SG totaled 5 aces with 6 errors; M-C had 8 aces and 8 errant serves.

Two Lions served more aces than errors. Boyd had 2 aces and no errors (11 for 11). Ellingson had one ace with no errors (8 for 8).

The Cougars took both the B-team and freshman matches by 2-0 scores.


SET ASSISTS (18): Jordan Anderson 18.

KILLS (21): Nicki Ellingson 10, Tara Solberg 5, Aly Folz 2, Jordan Anderson 2, Samantha Bratland 2.

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

SERVICE ACES (5): Sammi Boyd 2, Jordan Anderson 1, Nicki Ellingson 1, Samantha Bratland 1

Waukon (Iowa) Tournament, Sept. 21

Twelve teams competed in three pools at Waukon, including netters from Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

In pool "A," the Lions defeated Cresco (21-19, 21-18), lost to North Crawford (11-21, 14-21) and beat MFL/Mar-Mac (21-4, 21-7). With three pool teams at 2-1, the seedings for the next round were decided by defensive points allowed.

The top six teams from pool play were then placed in the highest "gold" division, with the Lions seeded in the middle of the pack at No. 3. They played No. 6 Cresco for a crack at No. 2 North Crawford while No. 5 Turkey Valley took on No. 4 Lansing Kee for a shot at No. 1 New Hampton.

Spring Grove advanced past Cresco via a 25-19, 25-20 margin while Turkey Valley defeated Kee. In the next round, the Lions avenged their loss to North Crawford with a 25-23, 25-22 victory, and Turkey Valley defeated the top-seed New Hampton 27-25, 25-16.

In the "gold" championship match, SG dropped the first set but rallied to take the final two, knocking off Turkey Valley 20-25, 25-20, 15-10.

"The girls showed a huge of amount of effort, heart and teamwork and were relentless in the pursuit of playing to their potential in this tournament," Anderson reported. "There were a number of intensively competitive sets throughout the day; the girls had to really maintain a very high level of play volley after volley, set after set, match after match. I was really proud of how no one let down even when we were behind in a set. The players on the court and the bench just kept encouraging each other and showed their teammates great support. Everyone contributed on and off the court in awesome ways. Also a great big thanks to the family and friends who came down and spent the whole day cheering us on to this tourney championship!"

A tourney highlight included 19 ace serves by Bratland in the first pool play match with Tara Solberg adding 2 more aces. As this issue went to press, complete statistics had not yet been tallied.

The "Silver" bracket was won by SEC competitor Houston.

It was the Lions' 12th trip to the Waukon Tournament, having also won the championship in 2010.

Up Next:

During Homecoming week, Spring Grove hosted Lyle/Pacelli on September 24 and Hope Lutheran two days later. On Monday, Sept. 30, the Lions travel to Rushford-Peterson.

LATEST RESULTS - Tuesday, Sept. 24

Spring Grove 3, Lyle/Pacelli 0

Mabel-Canton 3, Houston 0

Grand Meadow 3, Glenville-Emmons 0

Hope Lutheran 3, Lanesboro 0

Schaeffer 3, LeRoy-Ostrander 2

SEC Volleyball

EAST Division

Mabel-Canton 8-0 SEC (20-2 season)

Spring Grove 6-2 SEC (14-7)

Houston 5-3 SEC (11-10)

Hope Lutheran 4-4 SEC (6-8)

WEST Division

Lyle/Pacelli 5-3 SEC (9-10 season)

Grand Meadow 5-3 SEC (5-9)

Schaeffer academy 4-4 SEC (4-8)

Glenville-Emmons 1-7 SEC (1-7)

LeRoy-Ostrander 1-7 SEC (1-12)


ranking (previous week)

1 (8) Fillmore Central 15-2

2 (1) Southwest Christian 11-1

3 (3) Minneota 16-1

4 (2) Bethlehem Academy

5 (4) Win-E-Mac 17-1

6 (5) Mabel-Canton 20-2

7 (6) Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 7-3

8 (10) Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 13-5

9 (NR) Windom Area 10-3

10 (7) Nevis 8-3