Tartan gives Polars scare in volleyball tilt

Tartan sophomore Jessie Bradshaw (4) sends the ball over the net during action at North High Oct. 13. The Polars defeated the Titans 25-17, 22-25, 25-18 and 25-17. (Linda Baumeister/Review)
Tartan sophomore Jessie Bradshaw (4) sends the ball over the net during action at North High Oct. 13. The Polars defeated the Titans 25-17, 22-25, 25-18 and 25-17. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

The Tartan Titans traveled Oct. 13 to School District 622 arch rival North for a Metro East Conference volleyball clash. 

In a previous match the Polars subdued the Titans in a relatively easy three sets to zero match. This time, though, a much improved Tartan six put up some stiff competition in a 3-1 North match victory. 

“They really are much improved over the last time we met,” stated North head mentor Steve Anderson. “They played much better defense and pushed us to the limit on most every point. It was a good test for us at this time of the year. I‘m very happy with the outcome. Our kids played somewhat too relaxed and kind of took them for granted. But we woke up in game four and played much more like we can.”

 “Yah, I thought we played much better tonight than in our first game against them,” offered Tartan head coach Josh Mattison. “We are improving. We were in a tournament this past weekend at Cannon Falls, and though we had a record of 2-2, we played with a lot more enthusiasm than we have shown In the past. I’m proud of out effort tonight.”

Turning it around

Right from the get-go one could sense a change in the game that Tartan provided. Game one was a challenge for the unforced-error-prone Polars. 

Then the tide began to turn as the Polars fought hard to get through several  mistakes. Some deft hitting brought the Titans to their knees. 

At 12-4 in favor of North the Titans grabbed hold  of their sneaker laces and pulled themselves up as they went on 6-1 rally. The Polars responded with a charge of their own to eventually claim game one by a count of 25-17. 

Game two got underway and the Titans jumped off to an early 9-4 leeway. The Polars then sent Tida Phitsanoukanh to the service line. A couple of ace serves and a stronger defense pulled the Polars to within two at 8-10.

Tartan responded and began to match each point by North with one of two of their own. Then, at 23-20 Tartan, the Polars gained a point and then another. However, as each team seemed to improve before spectators’ eyes, the Titans responded and claimed a game two victory of 25-22. 

Battling every point

The pressure of the even record going into game three fueled several long volleys that challenged the defense on both sides of the net.

In the end it was North which stepped up to gain a 25-18 set win to pull ahead 2-1 in the match. 

Game four for the overall win was not unlike game three in that it featured several hold-your-breath extended volleys from both squads’ defenses. 

In the end it was once again the Polars who prevailed with a game four victory of 25-17 and a 3-1 match. 

In the statistics for Tartan Alexandra Lyle led with nine kills while Marisa Gomez-John and Megan LeMay were credited with four. In set assists Alana St. Cyr led with 29. Ace serves for Tartan included two each by Lyle and Gomez-John and one by Jessie Bradshaw. Lyle led in back row digs with 20. Gomez-John and St. Cyr added 12 each and Katelyn Rick contributed 11. 

For the Polars Rachel Tschida had 13 kills while Sophie Cave and Sarah Mullen each had 12. Set assists were led by Megan Rubbelke with a whopping 43 and in blocked shots Anna Kemper and Tschida each had six. 

The win left the Polars with a MEC mark of 7-2 and an overall record of 17-7.

The loss left the Titans at 2-6, 7-19. 

Each team has one MEC game left with Hill-Murray, which stands at 8-0, 18-10. The Polars will meet the Pioneers Oct. 22, while Tartan will play at Hill-Murray Oct. 24.

 

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