Volleyball: Thunder trip Fridley 3-0, advance to third round of sectionals

Gabby Antolak (16) and Brooke Borchardt (12) went up for a block, with Borchardt deflecting the spike by Fridley's Sarah Cowenhoven. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Janessa Ortberg (4) and Brooke Borchardt (12) went up for a block, with Borchardt deflecting the spike by Fridley’s Sarah Cowenhoven. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

It’s been a streaky season for the Zimmerman volleyball team. The Thunder started the season 9-5, then lost six straight and nine of 11.

However, they’ve gotten back on track in playoffs with two victories, 3-0 over Spectrum last Thursday and 3-0 over Fridley on Tuesday, both at home.

After their 25-22, 25-19, 25-14 win over Fridley, coach Cassandra Olson said her team has shown a bad habit of getting too cerebral on the court.

Ashley Pool of the Thunder fielded a serve from Fridley. Watching were Rachel Hoheisel (2) and Brooke Borchardt. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Ashley Pool of the Thunder fielded a serve from Fridley. Watching were Rachel Hoheisel (2) and Brooke Borchardt. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

“We talked about how they should stop thinking so much and just play,” said Olson. “We’ve got a bunch of kids who are really smart and like to think a lot. We wanted them to stop doing that, and let their bodies take over. It’s worked out well the last two games.”

The Thunder also improved their passing markedly in the two playoff wins, said Olson.

“When we make our passes, we hit the ball well,” she said.

Rachel Hoheisel prepares to serve. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Rachel Hoheisel prepares to serve. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Gabby Antolak of Zimmerman spikes against two Fridley blockers. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Gabby Antolak of Zimmerman spikes against two Fridley blockers. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

The Thunder (13-14), who were seeded second among eight teams in their half of Section 5A, have beaten two lower seeds, and now face top-seeded Park Center on Thursday at St. Michael-Albertville, starting 6 p.m.

The attack against the Tigers was led as usual by Brooke Borchardt with 19 kills and Gabby Antolak with 10. Most of the senior middle hitters’ sets came from Janessa Ortberg, who made 26 assists.

Ashley Pool served six aces. Rachel Hoheisel supplied eight digs and three aces. Catherine Lewandowski led with 10 digs.

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