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Upset bid thwarted

SAUK RAPIDS -- After a slow start, Willmar steadily improved throughout the match and eventually defeated Sauk Rapids 21-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-16 in a Central Lakes Conference volleyball match Thursday night.

The win kept the Cardinals in a tie with Alexandria for first place with three conference matches left for each team.

The win was also the 250th of Willmar coach Mary Hanson's career.

"I saw Sauk Rapids play Saturday and they are much improved," said Hanson. "They switched its offense around a little and they served aggressively. We got off to bad start because they played at a different tempo than we were used to."

After losing the opening game, Willmar regrouped.

"We had to pick up the pace and when we did, we played much better," said Hanson. "We blocked really well tonight, too."

Willmar amassed 21 ace blocks with senior middle hitter Mary Sussenguth leading the way with eight. Greta King and Laura Nielsen had five each and Kelsey Hanson three.

Jenna Olson, who had seven digs, played excellent on defense for the Cardinals, according to Hanson.

Sussenguth led in kills with 18 from a 36-for-38 attack slate and also had four ace serves. Nielsen added 14 kills and Greta King nine.

Hanson also had 39 assists, six ace serves, 10 digs and two kills.

Amy Pederson led Sauk Rapids with 12 kills and 15 digs.

Willmar 3, Sauk Rapids 1

Willmar (9-1, 14-2) 21 25 25 25

Sauk Rapids (4-4, 7-7) 25 22 18 16

(Key: good-attempts-aces)


Serving: Kelsey Hanson 19-20-6, Heather Thoma 1-1-0, Chelsea Vreeman 15-15-0, Greta King 12-13-3, Laura Nielsen 13-16-1, Mary Sussenguth 13-13-4, Nina Emery 8-9-0 .... Setting: Hanson 84-85-39, King 9-10-3 ... Hitting: Hanson 13-14-2, Vreeman 1-1-0, King 24-27-9, Nielsen 25-28-14, Sussenguth 36-38-18, Jamie Wilson 17-19-2, Emery 5-11-2 .... Blocking (aces): Hanson 3, King 5, Nielsen 5, Sussenguth 8 ... Digs: Hanson 10, Megan Brown 18, Jenna Olson 7, Vreeman 9, Randiann Sather 2, King 6, Nielsen 5, Sussenguth 5, Wilson 6, Emery 2

Sauk Rapids

Serving (aces): Becca Zwilling 3, Emily Lindmeier 2, Nikki Meinz 2 .... Setting (assists): Corina Fesenmaier 14 .... Hitting (kills): Amy Pederson 12, Randi Ziebarth 7, Fesenmaier 6 .... Blocking (aces): Fesenmaier 3... Digs: Pederson 15, Ziebarth 13, Allie Flosk 12

NEXT -- Willmar: Saturday at Willmar Invite