Volleyball: East Ridge, New Life Academy win in advance to tournament weekend
New Life Academy 3, Heritage Christian 1
The Eagles faced a deficit on Thursday night as Heritage Christian took a 1-0 lead with a 25-20 win. New Life refocused after the first set and took the next three sets to earn the match win.
New Life won the second set 25-20, third set 25-11 and fourth set 25-19. The Eagles will be heading to the Midwest Volleyball Warehouse on Friday, Sept. 21 and Saturday, Sept. 22 for a tournament.
East Ridge 3, Roseville 0
It was a dominating night for the Raptors as they swept Roseville at home on Thursday night. The first and second sets of the match were finished with the same 25-12 score and the third set ended in a 25-16 final.
The win will give East Ridge some confidence and momentum heading into a weekend filled with matches against top teams in the state. The Raptors will travel to Apple Valley High School on Friday, Sept. 21 and Saturday, Sept. 22 for an invitational.
Cretin-Derham Hall 3, Park 2
The Wolfpack started off Thursday night on a roll with two straight set wins as they won 25-21 in the first set and 25-14 in the second set.
Then, Cretin-Derham Hall came alive in the third set and took the close win with a 25-23 final. The momentum from the third set went into the fourth and fifth set with 25-17 and 15-13 finals to earn the victory.
The Wolfpack will regroup and focus on Saturday, Sept. 22 as Park plays Zumbrota-Mazeppa in the Hastings Tournament at 8 a.m.
Park 3, South St. Paul 0
Park bounced back from a loss to Forest Lake on Tuesday night with a sweep against South St. Paul. The Wolfpack have a busy week with two matches down and one more to go on Thursday, Sept. 20 against Cretin-Derham Hall before the Hastings Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 22.
Forest Lake 3, Park 0
Park knew it was going to be a challenge on Tuesday night as Forest Lake came to Cottage Grove for a conference volleyball match.
The first two sets were hard fought between the two teams, but Forest Lake took both sets to gain a 2-0 lead. Then, the third set, the momentum carried to Forest Lake which resulted in a 3-0 sweep to the Wolfpack.
Even though the result wasn't what the Park players wanted, they've learned from this match and hope to translate it into future conference matches.
"We can learn from everything," said junior middle hitter Emily Thompson. "From blocking to digging to hitting, just smart plays and building up from tonight."
The first set had a final of 25-13, but the final doesn't speak about the fight each team had with each point. The volleys between the two teams were long and the defense was diving for every ball that came on their side of the net.
Park had a small run to bring the score closer towards the end of the set, which translated into the second set of the match.
"If we make some good plays on the block, make some good plays on defense and get them rattled a little bit," said head coach Kristina Jameson. "It gives us an opportunity to capitalize."
That was the strategy heading into the second set for the Wolfpack since they knew Forest Lake had solid hitters, they were going to play scrappy and find different ways to earn points in the set.
It worked well in the beginning as Park hitters found open spots to earn the kill and the Wolfpack defense was digging balls and getting them to the setters.
It also worked in the serve game as they had a strategy to serve away from Forest Lake's libero Ava Schmoll. In the beginning of the second set, they were able to get it away from Schmoll and earn a few aces, but Schmoll figured out the strategy and positioned herself differently to make sure she received the serve.
It stopped Park's gameplan and resulted in a hard 25-20 loss in the second set. The confidence and momentum was on Forest Lake's side after a 2-0 lead and it led to a 25-11 third set win and match sweep.
"I don't think we played the best we could've, but Forest Lake is a really good team," said senior defensive specialist Chloe Cordell. "The first half of this season has been really good and it has shown through each match we've played."
The Wolfpack are 4-3 on the season and are 0-1 in the Suburban East Conference with Forest Lake being the first conference team they've faced this season.
It's going to be a busy week for Park as it prepares for an away match against South St. Paul at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19 and, then, heading back home on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. to host Cretin-Derham Hall for another conference match.
The conference season is about to get underway and Jameson is preparing for many tough matches.
"One of our goals was to be very scrappy and we let a lot of balls drop," Jameson said. "Just trying to get the kids to understand that a leader has to come up and somebody has to take control."
New Life Academy 3, Trinity 0
The Eagles took control of the match on Tuesday night quickly and it showed throughout the entire 3-0 sweep at Trinity.
New Life won the first and second set with the same 25-13 score. The third set was all New Life as the Eagles won 25-9 to earn the 3-0 win and improve their record to 9-2 on the season.
New Life will stay on the road when the Eagles head to Heritage Christian at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20 before their Class A Showcase weekend.