by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Elk River Elks got off to a good start but the Osseo Orioles headed them off in five games, 24-26, 25-21, 25-20, 17-25, 15-11, on Thursday evening in Elk River.
The Elks squeezed out the first-game win, then led 19-14 in the second, but Osseo, for the rest of that game and all of the next, kept serving and hitting to spots where the Elks couldn’t make good passes.
By the time the Elks got their offense going again they were down a game. After winning game four, sparked by some nice tips and blocks by Kennedy Strain, the Elks led 11-10 in the fifth game. But the Orioles hunkered down and got the last five points.
“We went five with them last year, too, and lost by two points,” said Elk coach Pam Gothe. “We knew they would be tough. They have a setter who has started for a long time. They are big and very athletic.”
The Elks dropped to 3-2 in the MWSC and 10-3 overall. Osseo is 4-1 and 9-5.
Jackie Jones knocked down 15 kills, Phyillis Webb 11 and Shiah Sanders eight for the Orioles. Kelly Vincent served three aces and Sanders two.
For the Elks, Kara Ziemer rattled off 17 kills, Austyn Beese 12, Janell Finkbeiner 10 and Strain seven. Finkbeiner had 19 assists and three aces. Beese also had three aces. Bailey Lundquist made four blocks and 17 assists.
Gothe called it a strong defensive performance by her team, led by senior libero Rachel Anderson, who was 22-for-27 on digs and 44-for-51 in serve receives, and 6-foot-1 soph Strain with six kill blocks.
At the serving stripe, the Elks had 16 misses and 10 aces, and Osseo had 10 misses and nine aces.
The Elks will play at Andover on Tuesday.