Tigers test Red Wing in section tournament

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 24, 2003

RED WING &045; The season came to an end for the Albert Lea High School volleyball team.

But the Tigers refused to go quietly.

Seeded 13th among 17 schools in the Section 1AAA tournament, the Tigers took fourth-seeded Red Wing to four games before falling Wednesday night. The final in favor of the Wingers was 25-15, 22-25, 25-14, 25-15.

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&uot;The girls played really well against Red Wing,&uot; said coach Gina Eppen. &uot;This may have been the best volleyball that I’ve seen them play all season. To have your team playing at peak performance at the end of the season is exactly what a coach pushes for.

I’m proud of the girls. They put it all out there on the court. We made Red Wing earn this win.&uot;

Defensively, the Tigers were kept on the move by some strong Red Wing hitters.

&uot;We played well offensively in game two,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;We varied our hitting and tipping so that we were able to hit to holes in their defense. In games three and four, their defense stepped up and started covering their court. It became harder to get a kill.&uot;

The Tigers’ statistical leaders: Amber Edwards 10 kills, 1 block, 2 digs; Danielle Rankin 1 ace, 16 kills, 1 block, 8 digs; Katie Brackey 1 ace, 2 kills, 18 assists, 4 digs; Jenna Brackey 1 ace, 6 kills, 18 assists, 11 digs; Heather Stegenga 2 blocks, 9 digs; Emily Bartusek 1 ace, 8 kills, 18 digs; Laura Jackson 1 block, 2 digs.

&uot;This has been an enjoyable season for me,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;We stacked our team with seniors this year and it is difficult to see the season end. I will miss these girls. It has been fun watching them better themselves as volleyball players and come together as a team.&uot;

The Tigers will graduate their entire varsity roster, which includes Edwards, Katie Brackey, Jenna Brackey, Jackson, Ali Blenka, Ashley Olson, Bartusek, Stegenga, Rankin and Brittany Buckmaster. The captains were Bartusek, Buckmaster and Rankin.

(Contact Jim Lutgens at sports@albertleatribune.com or 379-3437.)