Volleyball: KMS closes out CMCS

Sep. 30—KERKHOVEN — Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg has had its share of troubles closing out matches. But the Fighting Saints were able to reverse their fortunes on Thursday night.

Hosting Central Minnesota Christian in a Camden Conference volleyball match, KMS rebounded from a first-set loss to win the next three sets and claim the victory in four, 24-26, 25-20, 25-20, 25-18.

"I think the biggest thing is being able to adjust to what we're seeing," said Saints head coach Joquel Molenaar. "In the past, we've gotten into close matches and struggled to finish out.

"In game two, we said that if we can shut down some of those big hitters (CMCS) has, it makes a big difference. We didn't get a lot of ace blocks, but we had our hands in front of them quite a bit. It really made a big difference in slowing down their offense."

KMS looked to be in control in the first set with a 17-10 lead. The Bluejays managed to tie it at 24-all following a kill by Lilly Mellema. Junior middle hitter Janessa Erickson put down two straight kills to complete the CMCS rally for the 1-0 lead.

Erickson had nine kills with a .208 attack percentage. She also had three blocks. Lauren Taatjes had a team-high 10 kills on a .348 attack percentage.

Trying to work around the Bluejays' height advantage, KMS balanced out its attack. Setter Olivia Noble dished out 42 set assists while three different Saints — Maddie Luft (15), Taylor Haats (14) and Shakira Olson (11) — each had double-digit kills.

"We try to establish our main hitters," Molenaar said, "but at the same time, Olivia was able to mix it up and had the conditioning and timing to spread the ball out. That's the mark of a good setter that's starting to grasp the game. She's made some nice progress that way."

Avery Joyce solidified the Saints' back row with 16 digs, followed by 13 from Josie Gjerde. She also tallied three ace serves.

KMS next plays Dawson-Boyd at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Kerkhoven. CMCS has a match at 7:30 p.m. Monday against Ortonville in Prinsburg.

CMCS (5-10) 26 20 20 18

KMS (4-11) 24 25 25 25

CMCS

Serving (aces): Carrie Mulder 2, Ava Schneiderman 1, Avery Duininck 1, Maddy Vander Ark 1 ... Set assists: Schneiderman 21, Duininck 11 ... Hitting (kills): Lauren Taatjes 10, Janessa Erickson 9, Lilly Mellema 7 ... Blocking (aces): Erickson 3, Mulder 1, Hannah Graves 1, Mellema 1 ... Digs (5 or more): CC Roiseland 19, Mulder 11, Duininck 10

KMS

Serving (aces): Avery Joyce 3, Taylor Haats 2, Elsa Gjerde 1, Josie Gjerde 1, Julia Carlson 1, Olivia Noble 1, Abby Holtkamp 1 ... Set assists: Noble 42, J. Gjerde 1, Sophia Oerter 1 ... Hitting (kills): Maddie Luft 15, Haats 14, Shakira Olson 11, Noble 7, Oerter 3, Katie Klaphake 2, Savannah Peterson 1 ... Blocking (aces): Luft 1-1/2, Olson 1, Oerter 1/2 ... Digs (5 or more): Joyce 16, J. Gjerde 13, E. Gjerde 9, Carlson 8, Olson 6, Haats 5