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Volleyball: Z-M grabs a set, but Cannon Falls gets the win

Cannon Falls' Madasyn Hofstedt goes up for one of her five kills Thursday against Zumbrota-Mazeppa. the Bombers won, 3-1, over the Cougars. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)1 / 2
Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Kalli Paukert and Hailey Dykes go up for a block during the Cougars' 3-1 loss to Cannon Falls Thursday. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)2 / 2

CANNON FALLS – For just the second time since 2009, the Cannon Falls girls volleyball team lost a set to Zumbrota-Mazeppa. But that’s all the Bombers would allow in a 25-20, 25-8, 22-25, 26-24 Hiawatha Valley League game Thursday evening.

“Props to Missy, she’s really built her program; they’re always tough,” said Z-M coach Stacy Liebenow. “It’s a team we always want to beat, and it seems like we just can’t. I told her I really wanted to go five (sets). But that’s part of volleyball. Hopefully we’ll see them again in the postseason.”

A fifth set was a real possibility as the Cougars rode some momentum from the third-set win, and had an 11-6 lead in the fourth set before the Bombers were able to climb to a 15-13 advantage.

“I really felt that my girls took a mental break,” said Bombers coach Melissa Huseth. “They decided that we’ve got two sets under our belt, and they didn’t continue to play as strong, consistent volleyball that they need to do against a team like that. Zumbrota worked very hard; they out-worked us. They were very scrappy at the end of these (sets.)”

After both teams traded some hitting errors, the Bombers took a 23-22 lead thanks to a vicious swing from Carly Broze, who finished with 12 kills.

The Cougars tied it up at 23-23, and 24-24 after a kill from Breana Haag. But the Bombers would finally end it when Broze’s final spike forced the Cougars into a scramble that ended with a shot wide of the sideline.

For the Bombers, the win was a tough one that was full of errors, both physical and mental.

“This is the first time we’ve been called on that stuff,” Huseth said of rotation calls and service errors. “I don’t know, I think we just weren’t focused in that third set. Don’t get me wrong, there were some other ones too, but typically, we miss two or three serves a night. This is the first night we’ve missed five or whatever. Serving is definitely one of our strong points.

“Either the officials haven’t been watching us very carefully, or our girls just weren’t on, they weren’t focused. Our lefts need to make sure that they’re exchanging, I shouldn’t have to tell them that kind of stuff. They won’t do it again, let’s just say that.”

Yet, a win is a win, and for that, Huseth sees some silver lining in a cloudy match that also included five straight aces from Sami Cromer in the second set.

“I’m proud of the fact that my girls came out and finished and hit the ball hard. That’s going to make a big difference,” Huseth said.

For the Cougars, the match was something of a reminder of how they can play.

“I just said, ‘We’re in it for the long haul,’” Liebnow told her team after the lopsided second set. “I said to remember Game 1, because we played really hard in Game 1. Game 2, I said to throw that one out the window and start fresh. And they picked it up in the third game and into the fourth game. I told them, ‘That’s volleyball. That’s how we play.’”

The Bombers (3-1 overall, 2-0 HVL) host Hayfield Tuesday while the Cougars (4-4, 0-2) head to Lake City the same day.

Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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