Volleyball: Elks almost topple Centennial, lose in five

Elk River almost handed Centennial its first conference loss at home Tuesday night but the Cougars fended off the Elks in five, 25-16, 23-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-11.

“It was an incredible night for the Elks,” reflected Elk coach Pam Gothe.  “Centennial is in a conference fight with Blaine and Andover.  We made a serious statement tonight taking them to five games, as no one else has done so against them this season.”

The Elks are 2-3 in the NWSC and 9-4 overall. No. 10 ranked Centennial improved to 6-0 and 10-3.

Gothe said her team put up a tight defense against Centennial’s powerful outside hitter, 6-foot-1 Leah Pudwill, making 60 digs, an average of 12 per game.

The Elks had a good attack with 54 kills against 24 errors, led by Kara Ziemer with 16 kills, Jayde Krauth 15 and Jordan Moening 14. Ziemer (10 digs) and Moening (11 digs) had double-doubles.

At the serving stripe, Janel Finkbeiner was 19-for-21 with four aces and Kara Ziemer 21-for-24 with three aces.

Gothe said the Elks have been nursing numerous illness and injuries.

“It was quite exciting to see our team come together and give 100 percent on the court,” she said. “I was very proud of my players.”

The Elks will  play at Maple Grove on Thursday.