by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Torrid serving by Jordan Moening helped the Elk River volleyball team take conference co-leader Osseo five games Thursday evening but the Orioles were able to foil the upset bid.
Osseo, powered by dynamic middle hitters Darien Watson and Phillis Webb, won 23-25, 25-23, 29-27, 22-25, 15-10 in the ERHS gym.
Moening, playing despite illness, put all 32 serves in play and 12 went for aces.
The Elks rallied from a 20-12 deficit in game four to win 25-22 but Osseo regained control in game five.
“It was disheartening to lose,” said Elk coach Pam Gothe, “but I’m very proud of the way the girls have played. We can’t keep having to come back from behind the whole match.”
Gothe said Moening felt sick but wanted to play.
“And that’s the best she’s ever served,” said the coach. “She kept us in the game.”
Aces are nothing new for Moening, who has 67 for the season, but the 100 percent mark was remarkable, as her season average is 87.4. Her 12 aces was a career best.
The Orioles are tied for first in the Northwest Suburban with Andover and Blaine, all at 6-1.
The Elks are 3-4 in conference. The Elks and Orioles are each 10-5 overall.
Watson had 14 kills and Webb had 10, according to Oriole stats.
“They have a nice, fast offense, and the middle hitters are very athletic,” said Gothe.
The Orioles almost blew the game at the serving stripe with 18 misses against nine aces. The Elks had 23 aces against 13 errors.
Jayde Krauth notched 12 kills and 3 aces for the Elks. Janel Finkbeiner had 9 kills, 16 assists and 2 aces. Kara Ziemer had 11 kills and 3 aces. Moening and Rachel Anderson led with 12 digs each. Bailey Lundquist made 18 assists.
In the STMA Invitational starting Friday, the Elks face Maple Lake at 5:30 p.m. with another match to follow. The tournament will conclude Saturday.