Volleyball: Tartan holds off Mahtomedi in three games

Tartan 3 - Mahtomedi 0

It was “Parent’s Night” at the Tartan gymnasium Oct. 1, and the Titans celebrated by winning three volleyball games by identical scores, 25-23, over the Mahtomedi Zephyrs.

“We got ‘er done,” said Tartan head coach Josh Mattison with a wide grin. “We were able to hang on and closed them out when it counted. Our kids played hard. We got some good defense when it counted most.”

The Titans have been battling injuries and have not fielded a full varsity squad since early on in the season. Mattison looked pleased as he said, “We should be all healed by next week. We should be able to be back to playing a full team. Everyone should be back with us for the playoffs.”

From the Mahtomedi standpoint, head coach Scott Mason could have shook his head in disbelief. Instead he said, “We fought hard in every game. It took us a while to get on our game, but once we did we played well.

“We just never seemed to finish a game and ended up with three hard-luck losses.”

That was especially true in game one, but in all three, the Zephyrs bounced balls off a low girder hanging from the ceiling. Mason smiled as he said, “I hate the ceiling in this place. We seemed to hit it too often, especially in that first game. It cost us several points.”

In game one the Zephyrs moved to a steady lead and held on to it through most of the play.

The score was tied four times up until it became crunch time. Mahtomedi was on top at 18-15, when the Titans made their move.

With Lily Reyes at the service line the Titans gained six straight points and moved to a 21-18 margin. The Zephyrs erased that and knotted the count at 21-21.

The teams traded side-outs until at 24-22 the Zephyrs picked up a point. But a ball hit into the net gave the Titans game one by 25-23.

Game two began with the same parrying by the teams. Then, at 11-7 Mahtomedi, the Titans outscored the Zephyrs by 11-1 and it appeared were on their way to a decisive victory.

Suddenly, a timeout by Mahtomedi was followed up by a shored up defense. The Zephyrs began to score in spurts and slowly narrowed the six-point gap.

A couple of ace serves by Emma Richter brought the Zephyrs to within one at 20-21. Tartan fought hard and the teams exchanged serves and side-outs until the final 25-23 was gained on a set by Tartan’s Mikayla Miller that was followed by a hard kill off the hand of Kennedi Schulz to give the Titans game two.

Game three was not unlike the first two, except that Tartan moved to a three- or four-point edge and was comfortable holding on to that leeway.

But the Zephyrs were always within easy striking distance. Late in the game they knotted the count at 22-22. Tartan picked up a couple of points to move within one, but Mahtomedi fought back and gained a point.

The contest was decided on a set by Miller and a huge kill by Reyes that ended game three by the identical 25-23 score, and gave the Titans the 3-0 match triumph.

In the kill department Tia Elbert led Tartan with nine. Anne Hanson and Hailey Kissner had five apiece.

Serving five ace serves during the contest was Reyes and leading the Tartan attack with 26 set assists was Miller.

The Titans play at North High Oct. 9 and wrap up the regular season with an Oct. 15 game against Simley at Tartan. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.

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