by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Elk River Elks let two games slip away but regrouped to defeat the Andover Huskies 26-24, 21-25, 27-29, 25-20, 15-10 at home Tuesday evening.
The Elks had an 11-3 lead in game two, and were at game point three times in game three, but couldn’t put the Huskies away in either game. They led 15-4 in game four and saw the lead dwindle to 22-20 before closing it out. In game five they stayed in control against the last-place team.
“We just need to learn how to finish,” acknowledged senior setter Kelsey Owens. “We can do it, we’ve just never believed, but we are starting to believe now … It is a work in progress and we are getting there.”
You can’t fret about lost opportunities when the game’s still going.
“We basically just forgot about ‘em,” said Owens, adding that the coaches tell them to “just learn from our mistakes and pull through.”
Coach Theresa Brummer said that the inconsistency the Elks showed against Andover has been a problem all year, which she attributes to the team’s youth and varsity inexperience.
“It has to do with young players and knowing when to terminate the ball,” she said. “Volleyball is a game of errors and we have to clean that up. Our first game tonight was one of the best we’ve had. And then (after that) we go all over the place! We got it done at the end, but that’s too stressful on the coach!”
The Elks (2-4 conference, 7-11 overall) had no dominant hitter but got kills around the dial as Kelly Kolles and Kennedy Strain had 10 each, Sidney Wentland and Abi Scheid nine each, Kelsey Owens six and Gina Honek five. They had 52 kills against 33 errors.
At the serving stripe, the Elks had just eight aces, but put 106 of 114 in play (93 percent). Owens was 27-for-28 with three aces, Kaitlyn Pearson 22-for-22 with three aces, and Alix Zierden 13-for-13 with two aces.
Owens, the lone setter, made 44 assists. Becca Bummer, senior libero, led with 23 digs.
Amanda Hayko led the Huskies (0-6 conference, 2-16 overall) with 17 kills and four aces. Heather Keyes added seven kills and Carissa Board added three aces. Hannah Peterson made 31 digs and Emily Blake 30.
The Elks will host Armstrong on Thursday.