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Raiders top Tigers

Camryn Keyeski of Albert Lea spikes the ball as Northfield's Brynne Gray defends Tuesday at Albert Lea. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Camryn Keyeski of Albert Lea spikes the ball as Northfield’s Brynne Gray defends Tuesday at Albert Lea. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

With the Big Nine Conference race in the early stages, the Albert Lea volleyball team missed an opportunity to get back to .500.

The Tigers fell to 1-3 in the conference standings and 1-7 overall Tuesday with a 3-0 loss against Northfield at Albert Lea.

Game scores were 25-13, 25-22 and 25-15.

After the match, Tigers coach Jamie Cameron had a message for his squad.

“This team has the talent to win and beat Northfield or any team in our conference,” he said. “We still have time. We’ve just got to have that mentality to win.”

Julia Deyak led the Albert Lea with nine kills. She also had 10 digs, two ace serves and a block. Camryn Keyeski posted six kills and 18 digs. Middle hitter Sarah DeHaan added four kills, and tied Allison Grandstrand with a team-high three blocks.

Paige Landsman and Kassandra Jansen combined to produce 16 assists.

“Our setters were starting to connect with our middles, which is really great to see,” Cameron said. “We were scrappy, and we were getting some nice blocks.”

After the game, Cameron said he told his players not to get down on themselves following a run by their opponent.

“You see the communication drop off, and they go into emergency mode,” he said. “They just need to play their game. They’re a great group of girls, and we’re still learning from everything.”

In Game 1, Northfield jumped out to a 14-4 lead. Albert Lea was unable to recover.

The Raiders led 8-4 in Game 2, but the Tigers fought back to tie the game at 10 on a kill by Keyeski. Northfield followed with a 13-7 run. A kill by DeHaan started a string of three straight points to cut Albert Lea’s deficit to three points, 23-20. However, that was as close as the Tigers would get.

Northfield completed the sweep by scoring the last six points of Game 3.

Last year, Albert Lea edged the Raiders 3-2 at Northfield.

Next, the Tigers will host Rochester John Marshall (4-7, 1-3 Big Nine) at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Rockets began the season 0-3 and have lost three of their last four matches. Mankato East swept Rochester John Marshall on Tuesday.