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Willmar's streak continues

WILLMAR--Esther Grussing showed why she's one of the top setters in the area on Tuesday night in Willmar's 3-1 home win over Sartell-St. Stephen that extended their win streak to 12 matches.

Willmar's Abby Volk and Hannah Gallagher attempt to block a Sartell-St. Stephen shot in the second set of the Cardinal 3-1 win. The Cardinals have now won 12 in a row and have one game left in the regular season. Jake Schultz / Tribune
Willmar's Abby Volk and Hannah Gallagher attempt to block a Sartell-St. Stephen shot in the second set of the Cardinal 3-1 win. The Cardinals have now won 12 in a row and have one game left in the regular season. Jake Schultz / Tribune
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WILLMAR-Esther Grussing showed why she's one of the top setters in the area on Tuesday night in Willmar's 3-1 home win over Sartell-St. Stephen that extended their win streak to 12 matches.

Grussing led her team with 45 set assists and four solo blocks in her team's second win against the Sabres this year. The win helps the Cardinals (10-1, 18-4) put some distance between themselves and the Sabres (8-3, 16-5) in the Central Lakes Conference standings.

Carly Wedel and Cami Sletta took advantage of Grussing's assists, recording 15 and 13 kills respectively.

The Cardinals won the first two sets but required some last minute battles to down the Sabres.

Willmar head coach Traci Grussing said her team showed an improved defense for a majority of the match but let up a bit in the third set, which they lost 25-20. The Cardinals bounced back for their widest margin of victory in the fourth, though, with a score of 25-17.

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"(Sartell) struggled last time with service return but they did well today so we had to play better this time because they passed well and played good defense," Grussing said.

The Cardinals will ride their 12-match win streak into their regular season conference finale against Sauk Rapids-Rice who sits fourth in the CLC. Willmar beat the Storm in three sets earlier this year but Grussing said she expects them to be better this time around.

"We beat them pretty easy last time but they've played some really good matches since then and they've battled some tough teams so we expect a battle from them," Grussing said. "Our girls have done a really good job of not playing down to other teams this year and we've also played pretty well against tougher competition and keep rising to the occasion."

They play the Storm at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Sauk Rapids before wrapping up the regular season at the Moorhead tournament October 21.

Willmar 3, Sartell 1

Sartell (16-5)............................ 20 23 25 17

Willmar (18-4).............................. 25 25 20 25

Sartell-St. Stephen

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Stats not provided

Willmar

Serving (aces): Addie Erickson 1, Cami Sletta 4, Carly Wedel 1, Esther Grussing 2, Hannah Gallagher 1, Staci Banks 1 ... Set assists: Grussing 45, Erickson 2 ... Hitting (kills): Caitlin Ogdahl 2, Sletta 13, Wedel 15, Grussing 4, Grace Marti 5, Gallagher 10, Heidi Sellmann 7 ... Blocking (aces): Abby Volk 1, Wedel 2, Grussing 4, Marti 4, Sellmann 1 ... Digs (5 or more): Erickson 17, Sletta 8, Grussing 8, Gallagher 9, Sellmann 6, Banks 7

Willmar's Heidi Sellmann, center, and Caitlin Ogdahl attempt to block a shot from Sartell-St. Stephen's Jaden Turner in the first set of Tuesday night's 3-1 Cardinal win over the Sabres in Willmar. Jake Schultz / Tribune
Willmar's Heidi Sellmann, center, and Caitlin Ogdahl attempt to block a shot from Sartell-St. Stephen's Jaden Turner in the first set of Tuesday night's 3-1 Cardinal win over the Sabres in Willmar. Jake Schultz / Tribune

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