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Alden-Conger freshman setter breaks 1,000 career assist barrier

Alden-Conger's Erika Bute prepares to serve Monday against Glenville-Emmons at Alden. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Alden-Conger’s Erika Bute prepares to serve Monday against Glenville-Emmons at Alden. Needed eight more assists to surpass 1,000 for her career. She met the mark Tuesday against Martin County West. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Alden-Conger’s freshman setter passed a milestone.

Although the Knights were swept 3-0 Tuesday against Martin County West, Erika Bute — a varsity starter since seventh grade — posted a team-high 13 assists to surpass 1,000 in her career.

“The bench was all counting down,” Erika Bute said. “It was really exciting.”

Alden-Conger coach Jolene Bute, Erika Bute’s mother and a former volleyball player at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato and St. Cloud State, said her daughter tagged along to volleyball practices as a child when she coached at United South Central.

“Since she was in second grade, she’d go to varsity practices with me,” she said. “She took a liking to the game right away.”

Erika Bute said her next goal is to hit 2,000 career assists.

Martin County West (8-1, 4-0 Valley) was a state qualifier the last three seasons and finished third at the Class A state tournament last year.

Game scores against the Mavericks were 25-13, 25-23 and 25-17.

“The scores are a little deceiving,” Jolene Bute said. “I felt we played our best volleyball of the season. It was a fun night.”

Along with leading the team in assists, Erika Bute added a team-high three blocks. She also had two kills and seven digs.

Elynn Johnson led the Knights with nine kills. Kelsey Newman added five.

Abby Reyerson posted a team-high 28 digs, and Madison Erickson added 21.

Next, Alden-Conger (5-5, 2-1 Valley) will play at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Martin Luther-Granada-Huntley-East Chain (7-3, 2-2 Valley). The Mustangs are coming off a 3-0 home loss Tuesday against St. Clair (10-6, 3-0 Valley).