by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Bailey Lundquist served the last eight points of the match as Elk River completed a close three-game sweep of Rogers on Tuesday evening at home, surging from behind in each game.
The Elks won 26-24 after trailing 23-19, then won 25-23 after trailing 17-10, and finally 25-23 after trailing 23-17.
That’s when Lundquist, senior setter, went to the stripe and never left, floating serve after well-placed serve over the net.
“Bailey was putting the ball where we wanted her to go. She was hitting the spots,” said coach Pam Gothe. “We always call the spots we want the server to hit on the floor.”
Two kills by Austyn Beese completed the job in game three.
The Elks improved to 2-0, while a young Rogers lineup was opening the season.
In game one, Janel Finkbeiner went to the stripe with the Elks down 23-19 and served for four straight points, capped by an ace down the side. She was long on her next serve, but Kara Ziemer plunked down a kill to tie it 24-24, then went to the stripe. Lundquist made it 25-24 as she batted back a weak overpass by Rogers, and Ziemer closed it out with an ace across the grain.
The Elks’ rally in game two was capped by Lindsey Lowe’s tip for the 25th point after they caught up on two kills by Ziemer.
“We are not doing anything the easy way,” said Gothe.
The Elks also see-sawed past St. Francis in their opener last Thursday.
“We’ve been doing that a lot, and it’s kinda scary,” said Finkbeiner, “but it’s good for us that we push toward the end.”
While the Elks have a veteran lineup, Rogers’ starting six had senior standout libero Abby Folk along with two juniors, two sophomores and an eighth-grader.
“We had some mental errors, and sometimes a lack of guts to go the the ball,” said Rogers coach Joyelle Knoblach about the blown leads. “Too many second guesses. On the match points in both game one and game two, we had a ball hit the floor without anyone going after it.”
About they leads they built, she acknowledged, “Everyone was awesome when they were on. We had people swing-hitting, and the setters were pretty good for their first time setting in a six-two.”
Zeimer knocked down 14 kills, Lowe 10, and Beese eight for the Elks, who were bogged down by 11 missed serves. Finkbeiner and Lowe served two aces each. Rachel Anderson, senior libero, kept things moving with excellent passing, said Gothe.
While the Elks were erratic on their serves, Rogers put 69 of 71 in play, although only three were aces. Erika Folk made eight kills and Lizzu Meyer five. Abby Folk made 19 digs.
The Elks will host North Branch on Thursday, and Rogers will play at Maple Grove.