ALHS spikers keep it close with East

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

The Mankato East Cougars have only lost once in Big Nine volleyball matches this year, but the Albert Lea Tigers weren’t about to let them have an easy win. Not during homecoming week.

The Tigers started strong and finished strong but could not take a game in a 3-0 setback Thursday night. The Cougars won 25-23, 25-14, 25-22.

According to ALHS coach Gina Eppen, the first game was pivotal.

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&uot;When you lose a close one in the first game, you always wonder what would have happened if you had won,&uot; said the coach. &uot;We came out very strong. We just couldn’t get that first game at the end.&uot;

But she was pleased with her squad’s overall effort.

&uot;We were more competitive tonight,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;It was probably a better homecoming showing for us this week.&uot;

The Tigers’ statistical leaders: Katie Brackey 17 assists, 18 digs, one block, one kill; Jenna Brackey nine assists, 19 digs, one block, two kills; Heather Stegenga 13 digs, three blocks, five kills; Emily Bartusek 15 digs, five kills; Danielle Rankin 14 digs, 14 kills; Amber Edwards two digs, two kills; Laura Jackson one block, one kill.

Eppen said that even though the Tigers lost, they can use their performance as a building block because East is such a strong team. She’s also impressed with their hustle.

&uot;The biggest credit to the girls right now is they’re starting to get scrappier defensively,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;The girls played well tonight. Mankato East is a good team, up near the top of the conference. For the girls to go out and push a conference leading team like that, it’s real good to see.&uot;

The Tigers play in the Blue Earth Invitational Saturday.

(Contact Jim Lutgens at or 379-3437.)