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Alden-Conger sweeps Truman

Morgan Grunzke of Alden-Conger digs the ball in the first round of the Subsection 2A South tournament against Truman. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Morgan Grunzke of Alden-Conger digs the ball in the first round of the Subsection 2A South tournament against Truman. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

ALDEN — The streak keeps growing.

The Alden-Conger volleyball team won its ninth straight match with a 3-0 sweep of Truman Monday in the first round of the Subsection 2A South tournament.

“They’re just a phenomenal group of kids,” said Knights coach Jolene Bute. “I wouldn’t say they’re the most talented group, but they work so hard together that they can achieve anything that they put their hearts to.”

Coming into the season, Alden-Conger’s longest winning streak since Minnesota-Scores.net began keeping records in 2005 was four games. The Knights posted four-game winning streaks in 2007, ’08, ’12 and ’13. Last year, the team went seven straight games without losing, but sandwiched in the middle was a tie against Blooming Prairie at the Le Roy-Ostrander tournament.

Truman (1-22 overall) entered the game coming off its only win of the season, and the Knights (18-6 overall) shut the door early.

“I wanted the kids to focus on where they need to be, getting to their spots all the time and getting used to that,” coach Bute said.

Alden-Conger won each set by more than 10 points. The Knights won the first set 25-14, took the second set 25-11 and completed the sweep with a 25-9 victory.

Erika Bute, an eighth-grader, who is a second-year varsity starter, led Alden-Conger with eight kills, 21 assists and six ace serves.

As a setter, Bute spread the ball around to four players who had four-or-more kills: Madison Erickson, Elynn Johnson, Liesel Theusch and Kasey Knutson.

Along with her five kills, Erickson led the team with 12 digs.

Next, Alden-Conger will play Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (21-7 overall) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Subsection 2A South quarterfinals. Since the match will be on the road, the Truman match was the last home match for Alden-Conger’s seniors: Theusch, Knutson, Cassie Gilster, Morgan Grunzke and Jessica Price.

“It’s going to be hard to let these seniors go,” coach Bute said. “They’ve done a phenomenal job.”

Alden-Conger and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial met on Sept. 4. It was Alden-Conger’s third match of the season, and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial — also the Knights — won 3-0.

Coach Bute said she has been watching film with assistant coach Sarah Attig as part of the preparation process.

“We didn’t play our best ball that night, and it was really early in the season,” she said. “There’s a lot of things we’re going to point out to the girls, and I think we have a legitimate shot at them.”