Volleyball: Wingers fall flat in Missota finale
Coming off its first win, Red Wing was hoping to tally one more victory in its regular-season finale at home Tuesday.
Taking on Chanhassen, one of the Missota Conference’s top teams as well as a team on the cusp of a Class 3A ranking, the Wingers could not keep their momentum in a three-set loss, 25-6, 25-9, 25-16.
“There were times tonight where they played really well,” said Red Wing assistant coach Kelly Norman. “And at times, too many balls were dropped and they were looking at each other. At other times, they did very well.”
Led by a strong pair of outside hitters in Danielle Gitzen and Anna Lisignoli, the Storm vaulted out to a 20-5 lead in the first set on the way to an easy 1-0 lead. Then with Gitzen and Lisignoli accounting for three kills in the first eight points, Chanhassen took an early 7-1 second-set lead.
An ace from Sara Kelly and a block by Hannah Bystrom and Taylor Steger cut Red Wing’s deficit to 7-4 before the Storm blew the second set open, holding the Wingers to single digits for the second straight set.
“I told the girls this would be a really big blocking game,” Norman said. “(Chanhassen’s) outsides were crushing the ball and we couldn’t do a lot about it.”
With a loss looming, Red Wing’s blockers were able to slow down the Storm’s outsides in the third set. The Wingers tied the third set at 4-4 before Chanhassen took the lead for good on a blocking error. But the points were more difficult to come by for the visiting Storm. Olivia Brown had a team-high three blocks, and Bystrom and Steger came up with two knockdowns each.
“It’s been kind of an ongoing thing all year where against the better teams, our girls are able to read (the hitters) better, where the teams that may not have that much skill, it’s harder for our girls to read that,” Norman said. “I think they did a good job reading them tonight.”
Maria Furlong finished with 10 digs, and Sydney Book led Red Wing with four kills.
Finishing the regular season at 1-24 overall and 0-7 in the Missota, the Wingers will find out their playoff fate on Sunday when seedings in Section 1AAA are announced. Red Wing was 0-7 against section opponents during the regular season.