Rebels knock off rival and continue winning streak

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In a match that pitted two rival schools with lengthy winning streaks against each other the United South Central volleyball team came out on top of New-Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva 3-1 Tuesday in a match that had a playoff-like atmosphere.

The Panthers entered the match with an eight-match winning streak and won the first game handily 25-12, but the Rebels, who had a six-match winning streak, slowly came to life and took the next four games 25-19, 28-26, 25-21 for their seventh-straight win.

USC started feeding the ball to outside hitter Sabrina Bushlack and took advantage of some NRHEG mistakes in the later parts of the games to move past the Panthers. NRHEG led in the latter parts of the second and third game, but watched as the Rebels worked their way past the Panthers.

Email newsletter signup

As soon as NRHEG adjusted to stop Bushlack USC utilized middle hitter Lindsey Dahl who came up with 17 kills on the night. Bushlack led the team with 23 kills.

The Rebels knew coming into the match that they would have to slow down freshman middle hitter Anna Schlaak and they did so with Courtney Christensen. The junior middle hitter came up with 11 blocks and disrupted Schlaak’s game at the net.

The loss of the third game hurt the Panthers and the team never quite recovered.

“We struggled serve receiving,” NRHEG head coach Nicole Kuhns said. “We just weren’t passing on our game. When there were times we needed to get the ball to the setters we couldn’t.”

The passing game for USC was strong with setter Ciara Christenson coming up with 46 assists and 27 digs. She also recorded a season-high eight serving aces.

Schlaak was still effective in the game, coming up with 20 kills and five blocks. Alyssa Hagen added 12 kills and two blocks for the Panthers.

“We didn’t play bad, but I don’t think we played our best,” Kuhns said.

NRHEG has another test Thursday as it faces No. 1-ranked Bethlehem Academy.

The win was a big one for USC and had some postseason implications.

“It’s also a big game for us in section seeding,” Rebels head coach Jolene Bute said. “We have to win games like this in order to do that (get a high seed).”

USC doesn’t play again until next Thursday when it faces Blooming Prairie.