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Cardinals top Fergus to end skid

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WILLMAR -- After losing three of its last four matches, the Willmar volleyball team broke the slump with a 25-15, 12-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-10 win over Fergus Falls in Central Lakes Conference action Thursday.

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"We needed to win this one and the girls pulled together," said Willmar coach Mary Hanson.

The Cardinals (8-3, 13-9) started out hot from the serving line with Emily Nelsen serving a long string of points that lead to Willmar's Game 1 win. Nelsen finished with five ace serves and the Cardinals had seven overall with Hannah Smith adding two.

"We rely on ace serves and we haven't been getting those lately, so it helped (Thursday night)," Hanson said.

Willmar swooned in the second game as Fergus Falls (2-9, 8-17) controlled the tempo and stuffed the Cardinals at the net.

But the Cardinals were able to pick up the pace to win two of the last three games.

"When we run a faster offense, things work better for us, but sometimes you can't run that offense," Hanson said.

Nelsen collected a match-high 26 kills, followed by Kelsey Evans with 20 and Smith with 11. Alex Lippert had five ace blocks, including three on consecutive plays. Brittney Hastad and Smith had 19 digs each and Jennie Mattison had 28 assists.

Willmar 3, Fergus Falls 2

Fergus Falls 15 25 19 25 10

Willmar 25 12 25 22 15

(Key: good-attempts-aces)

Fergus Falls

Serving: Nikki Clouse 2 ... Setting: Moore 14, Russell 12 ... Hitting: Moore 11, Moriah Monke 10, Haddie Russell 6, Kaitlyn Larson 5 ... Blocking (aces): Monke 11, Larson 5 ... Digs: Larson 11, Nikki Clouse 12

Willmar

Serving: Brittney Hastad 7-7-0, Annalise Bratt 9-12-0, Kelsey Evans 18-20-0, Hannah Smith 19-21-2, Emily Nelsen 17-18-5, Jennie Mattison 15-16-0 ... Setting: Hastad 5-5-1, Smith 57-59-20, Mattison 66-67-28, Alex Lippert 9-9-3 ... Hitting: Bratt 5-6-2, Evans 34-39-20, Smith 19-22-11, Nelsen 42-53-26, Mattison 6-6-3, Brianna Johnson 5-5-2, Lippert 14-17-3, Jena Thompson 8-12-2 ... Blocking (aces): Bratt 1, Evans 3, Lippert 5, Thompson 3 ... Digs: Hastad 19, Bratt 8, Evans 12, Smith 19, Nelsen 17, Mattison 8

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