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ISSUE 121 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 10/5/2007

Volleyball drops early lead, game to St. Mary's

By Barrett Kennedy
Sports Editor

Friday, October 5, 2007

The St. Olaf volleyball squad fell to St. Mary's 3-1 on Friday night in Winona. The Oles managed a first game victory, downing the Cardinals 30-25.

The second game proved to be the critical point in the match. The game featured 15 lead changes, and the teams were tied late at 29.

However, back-to-back attack errors cost the Oles the final two points that sealed the game for the Cardinals, tying the match at one game apiece.

The women could not recover and dropped the two subsequent games 25-30 and 14-30.

First-year outside hitter Kim Smisek '11 led all players in the match with 21 kills, extending her match streak of double-digit kills to seven. Jane Meyer '11 also added 10 kills.

Wednesday's match marked the Oles' third consecutive loss, making them 1-5 in their last six matches. St. Olaf sits tied with St. Catherine's and Augsburg for ninth in the MIAC at 1-5. The Oles are 6-8 overall.

The Oles also fell to Concordia 3-0 on Friday night in the Skoglund Gymnasium. The Oles started strong and jumped to an early 12-3 lead, but the Cobbers rallied back to spike the Oles 30-27 in the critical first game.

Concordia seemed to increase in focus and confidence as the match continued. "The Cobbers started to find our [defensive] holes, and we couldn't break up key strings of points in the next two games," said captain Abby Fournier '09.

In the match, the women missed having their middle hitter, Paige Olson '10, and had to adjust by making some last-minute rotation shifts. "We lost our rhythm after that first game and never quite found it again," added Fournier.

The Oles did not lead in the second game and lost 16-30. The Cobbers won the third game 18-30, rallying 11 straight points to close out a sweep in what was only the Oles' third home match of the season.

Alyssa Williams '10 and Janet Sully '10 led the Oles in defensive digs, notching 17 and 10 apiece respectively. Kelly Prunty '11 added 33 assists to her season total in the Oles' effort.

"We need to keep working on minimizing our serving and hitting errors," said Fournier. Fewer errors will help the Oles sustain longer strings of points and gain more confidence in other aspects of the game, added Fournier.

The next match for St. Olaf is Wednesday, when they face Augsburg College in the Skoglund gymnasium at 7 p.m.

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