Friday, October 31, 2008

Playoff Out & About: STMA/Alexandria

#5 posting 10.31.2008
your daily dose of girls volleyball news & information

(25-21, 22-25, 22-25, 25-20, 19-17)

In a Halloween classic, #1 South seed STMA beat #1 North seed Alexandria in a tight thriller/heartbreaker depending on which side of the bleachers you sat. The passion of the fans took on an added emphasis with the Halloween costumes. The fact is I went through a whole clip of photos and then some. I also had to move from my favorite angle on the bleachers due to the overwhelming Cardinal support than continually blocked my view. I perched myself in the end zone for unobstructed views, but photo profiles were sacrificed.

This had all the makings of a classic before it began: #1. Both teams were ranked in the coaches poll---STMA #4; Alex #7; #2 Both teams were ranked in the MaxPreps all state poll---STMA #5; Alex #6. #3. Both teams had two players each that will continue on with their volleyball careers after high school. The electricity was already crackling in the air. Throw in Costumes and the give and take and you come up with memorable volleyball. Rallies lasted longer, with players making digs and keeping the ball alive. With a ticket to state on the line you would expect nothing less than full effort. Both teams did that and more tonight.

Alex had a 2-1 lead in the contest. In the fourth set both teams were tied at 20 before the Knights closed with five straight points. In the fifth set, STMA led 14-10. Alex fought back four straight match points to tie it at 14. STMA had two more chances and didn't close. Alex then had one match point but it wasn't in the Cards for them at 17-16. Katherine Harms had the key side out point to tie at 17 and then served out. Alex was in the net for point 18, and Harms put down her 33rd kill of the night from the back row to make it a good Knight for STMA.

The first set was a back and forth until a 10-3 run by STMA broke the game open. Alex led 13-12 when the Knights started their surge. Alex took two time outs at 16-13 and 22-16 trying to stop the Knight momentum. In both situations it worked. STMA led 24-18 but needed four set points to close out the Cardinals. Harms had 12 points in the first set, including five of the last eight STMA points.

The first set featured four runs by both teams combined. Set two the runs doubled. STMA used the momentum in the first set to get out to a 7-4 run. Harms had three points at that time, but only had one more the rest of the set. Alex got right back into the fray with four straight points of their own. That was the start of a 11-2 Cardinal run to put Alex up 13-9. The pendulum swung back to the Knights as they embarked on a 10-2 run. Alex had to burn two time outs to halt the momentum, one with Alex up 13-12, the other at 19-15 STMA. The pendulum swung back Alex's direction after the second time out. The Cardinals closed with a 10-3 run with five different players putting down kills for Alex. STMA took their first time out at 20 and after the break exchanged three side outs to lead 22-21. The final four Alex points came on a block and kill by Jacque Brown and then two kills by Alicia Montbriand. The series was all tied up.

The theme of set three was a block party. Alexandria had 8 points on blocks in set three as the Knights didn't pierce their defenses. STMA had to resort to tips at times. Alex jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Of the first 9 Cardinal points in set three five came via blocks. STMA did close to 10-9, but Alex responded with a 4-1 run forcing a Knight time out at 14-10. Ariel Carlson delivered two blocks in that sequence. She had four for set three alone. After the time out both teams traded side outs for six serves. STMA had another push of three to cut the margin to 18-16 which forced the first Alex time out. Jacque Brown scored the next two points for Alex on a block (naturally) and a kill. Once again the persistent Knights closed the gap to 23-22 with two straight points by Carly Rothstein on an overpass kill followed by a block. Alex burned their second time out and got a kill from Samantha Dale. That prompted a Knight time out. The final point ended up with STMA in the net. There was jubilation among the Cardinal costumed crazies, with concern emanating from the STMA camp.

STMA broke open set four with a 7-1 sequence which started with two Alex hitting errors. The Cardinals took their first time out at 11-8, but STMA added another point before Alexandria sided out. Side outs ruled the court with 12 straight back and forths. For Alex, Carlson had three of the six FBSO points. For STMA Harms had three of the six Knight side out points. A disputed point stopped the exchange on Katie Brown's serve for the Cardinals. Either it was a back row attack ---a late call---or STMA was in the net. It negated what looked to be a kill by Marie O'Neil. Carlson added a kill after that to tie the contest at 18. Again it was back to the side out exchanges with STMA pulling out 21-20 after a Harms kill. She got the ball on the serve and didn't let go. Alex took their second time out at 22-20, but Harms kept serving right to the finish. Rothstein ended the set with a block and the match was now knotted at four.

Alex got the serve to start the fifth set. O'Neil put down a kill and STMA soon led 3-0. Alex grabbed a 5-3 lead with five straight points, their largest sequence of the night. The Knights were able to tie it up at 6 all on an ace by Harms. Dale put up a block for a Cardinal point. Brittani Wiese got the side out for STMA and Maria Berning put down a kill to tie at at 8. Two Cardinal hitting errors put STMA up 10-9 and forced a Alex time out. Nicole Throngard got a kill to tie at 10 after the break. STMA then ran off four more points, two coming on Alex hitting errors. That put the contest on the brink at 14-10. With their backs to the wall, the Cardinals held off four straight match points. Angela Christianson had a kill and a block for 12 and 13, and Carlson put down a kill to tie it at 14. Both teams then traded four straight side outs. STMA had two more match points in that run, but could close the deal. A hitting error by STMA put Alex one point away from St. Paul, but Harms put an end to those thoughts with a side out kill. She then went to the service line. In sets four and five she had missed three of her last four serves. She didn't miss the next two. Alex was in the net for point 18 and then Harms herself from the back row finished the grueling contest with a kill. STMA is going back to St. Paul for the second straight season, and 8th trip overall.
You can see the humongous STMA vs Alexandria photo gallery at You might need to hold all calls when viewing these.

More to come

rotation, player, position, aces-blocks-kills--totals
1. Catherine Yager, 2009, S 3-3-5-----11
2. Lindsay Berning, 2009, DS 2-0-0-----2
2fr: Maria Berning, 2009, OH 0-1-11------12
3. Samantha Dick, 2009, serve 1-0-0-----1
3fr: Marie O'Neil, 2009, MH 0-3.5-2-----5.5
3br: Allie Knutsen, 2009, L
4. Katherine Harms, 2009, RH 2-1.5-33----36.5
5. Brittani Wiese, 2009, OH 0-0-10-----10
6. Allie Knutsen, 2009, L 2-0-0--------2
6fr: Carly Rothstein, 2010, MH 0-2-4----6
totals: 10-11-64------85 points, 28 points on Alex errors

1. Katie Brown, 2010, S 0-0-2-----2
1fr: Angela Christianson, 2010, RH 0-2-9----11
2. Greta Wood, 2009, DS 2-0-0-----2
2fr: Alicia Montbriand, 2009, OH 0-0-4----4
2fr: Nicole Throngard, 2009, OH 0-0-2----2
3. Ariel Carlson, 2009, MH 3-5-17----25
3br: Valerie Smith, 2009, L
4. Keely Gross, 2010, S 0-0-0-----0
4fr: Jacque Brown, 2010, RH 0-3-7----10
5. Samantha Dale, 2009, OH 0-3-12-----15
6. Valerie Smith, 2009, L 0-0-0----0
6fr: Sam Trumm, 2011, MH 0-5-1----6
6fr: Kaitlin Becker, 2011, MH 0-1-0----1
totals: 5-19-54------78 points; 30 points on STMA errors

Katherine Harms
rose to the occassion in set five with 8.5 points

team, fbso/fbso attempts; fbso %; points, % earned; % allowed
STMA 37/65 -.569; 113; .752; .259
Alexandria 37/64-.578; 108; .722; .265
Runs 3+: STMA 13, Alex 10
Longest string: STMA 5, Alex 5
Missed Serves: STMA 11, Alex 2
Time Out %: Alex 6/10-.600; STMA 4/7-.571


1. Yager 24-20 .545
2. Berning 20-27 .426
3. Dick 18-22 .450
4. Harms 22-15 .595
5. Wiese 10-15 .400
6. Knutsen 19-9 .679
totals: 113-108 .511

1. Brown 23-20 .535
2. Wood 26-19 .578
3. Carlson 20-25 .444
4. Gross 14-11 .560
5. Dale 14-19 .424
6. Smith 11-19 .367
totals: 108-113 .489

Set: 5 10 15 20 25
set 1 S S S S S
set 2 S A S S A
set 3 A A A A A
set 4 A S S S S
set 5 A S S

Team 1 2 3 4 5
STMA 6 4 0 5 4
Alex 2 4 5 2 2

Next up: tomorrow