Eagles hold off Knights

Published 8:53 am Friday, September 5, 2008

A little more than two years after receiving the Albert Lea Tribune Volleyball Coach of the Year honors with Albert Lea, Melissa Wasmoen is once again making her magic from the bench, this time with Alden-Conger.

The Knights (3-1) came into Thursday night’s match with Maple River (0-1) with nine wins in 10 games this season and a 3-0 record. Unfortunately for Alden-Conger though it fell behind by two games before making a match of it in a 3-2 loss, 19-25, 20-25, 25-22, 31-29, 17-19.

“That was some exciting volleyball, despite the loss,” said Wasmoen. “It’s one of those matches that win or lose, no one leaves with their head hung low.”

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In the last 14 games between these two Valley Conference rivals the series was even at 7-7, so it was a bit of a surprise when the Eagles jumped out in front by two games after winning game one 25-19 and game two 25-20.

Game three went back and forth in the early going and continued that way as Alden-Conger trailed 15-12 and looked to be on the verge of being swept by the Eagles. The Knights battled back to lead 24-22 before Haley Johnson finished Maple River off with an ace and a 25-22 win.

In game four Alden-Conger came out on fire, thanks in large part to Johnson and Krista Mathiason who led the Knights with 18 and 15 kills respectively for the match, and surged in front 13-5 in front of a vocal crowd.

But as quickly as the Knights grabbed the momentum, it slipped from their grasp. The Eagles went on a 15-point rampage to take the lead by seven 20-13.

It’s usually hard to come back from an onslaught like that in the same game, but that’s just what Alden-Conger did with Megan Milller dishing out assist after assist on her way to 38 on the night and a 24-22 advantage.

From that point on, the game was tied at six times with each team having opportunities to win before the Knights put it away with a 31-29 win to even the match at 2-2 after being down 2-0.

“That was really big, our girls learned a lot about themselves in that game,” Wasmoen said. “They know now that they can get behind two games and still have a chance to win.”

Alden-Conger ran the score to 5-0 in game five before Maple River tied it at 7-7. From there it was a replay of the fourth game as the Knights had a shot to win it all, leading 17-16 with the serve, but on this night it was not to be as Alden-Conger dropped the next three points and fell 19-17.

The Knights will be back in action Monday when they travel to Nicollet.