Albert Lea spikers swept in opener

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 27, 2002

BYRON &045; Coach Gina Eppen did not feel good about the fact the 2002 season opener was much as the same as the 2001 opener for the Albert Lea High School volleyball team.

But, like last year, she’s hoping the Tigers bounce back quickly.

The ALHS girls lost 3-0 at Byron Monday night, falling 15-4, 15-0, 15-11. They won’t, however, have much time to ponder it. They host Southland tonight in their home opener.

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About all Eppen could do Monday was compliment a scrappy Byron squad.

&uot;Byron does have a very good team,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;They have a very smart team, and they play a lot of offense which puts them on good position. They mixed their tipping and hitting and did a nice job.&uot;

The Tigers did a nice job serving, going 33-for-36, 91.7 percent, with four aces.

&uot;That is the positive, I think, for tonight,&uot; said Eppen.

Whitney Sorenson, the Tigers’ lone returning letterwinner, was the leader. She totaled four service aces, four blocks and three kills.

Another positive, according to Eppen, was the play of junior Danielle Rankin, who had four kills and one ace serve.

&uot;Danielle plays smart volleyball,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;Her kills were not necessarily big hits, but well-placed balls.&uot;

Setter Ashley Chrz showed outstanding hustle while registering two blocks and three assists.

&uot;Overall, our passing was poor,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;Our serve receive kind of killed us – that’s obvious when a team puts up 15 points and you don’t get any. Byron had some good hitters, and our communication was off. We just didn’t look cohesive tonight. It kind of mirrored last year when we came out flat against Byron. I’m hoping our next match also mirrors last year, when we came back to win against Southland.

&uot;We’re hoping for a good home opener.&uot;