The start of every point in a volleyball game comes down to the server versus the receiver. And when Central Lakes College freshman Jenae Swanson stands behind the serving stripe, she usually wins that battle.
Swanson used a punishing serve to collect eight aces and help the Raiders cruise to a 30-18, 30-18, 30-16 win over the Mesabi Range Lady Norse Friday in a Northern Division matchup.
When Swanson's serves weren't finding the floor they were making life miserable for the Lady Norse, who had trouble just receiving the ball. Her top-spin serve is something she's worked on since her days at Pierz High School.
"Basically I just try to serve as hard as I can and try to make sure they're in," Swanson said. "I've been working on my serve over the years starting in ninth grade. Serving is very important and it seems like the harder I serve the ball the more pumped up I get. I try for an ace every time, I don't hold back."
Swanson didn't commit a serving error and quickly established her serve against Mesabi Range. Almost every time Swanson served the Raiders ripped off a string of points.
"I'm sure that Jenae got in their heads," CLC coach Jane Peterson said. "Serve-receive is a very mental thing. They're back there waiting and the other team has total control. That's why good serving teams can gain momentum and make the other team fear you. It also takes the other team out of their rhythm."
Swanson had three aces in the game-one win and used her serve to turn a close second game into a route. Leading by four Swanson had two aces to spark a seven-point run and take a commanding 25-15 lead. Swanson fittingly ended the match with an ace to win the third game.
The Raiders also received key performances from two other freshmen, Jen Kempenich and Megan Anderson. Kempenich led CLC with 11 kills, while Anderson was second with nine kills. Their performances were big as the Raiders' top player, Courtney Stach, struggled.
Kempenich had four kills in the first game and six kills in the final game and also finished the match with two ace serves. Anderson, who played middle hitter for the first time since junior high school, was steady throughout and collected three ace serves.
"Because of Courtney people don't notice Jen as much," Peterson said. "Courtney is intimidating because she hits so hard and they lose track of Jen, who has been a very, very effective hitter.
"Megan is just getting comfortable playing middle hitter. She hasn't played that spot in a long time and I think every match she's going to get more comfortable. She's not afraid to swing hard so that's nice."
Melissa Otremba 1 set assist, 1 dig
Jenny Schrupp 1 kill, 3 digs
Lisa Litke 2 kills, 2 digs
Courtney Stach 6 kills, 9 digs
Jean Koester 3 kills, 1 set assist
Maggie Wizner 1 kill, 12 digs
Jenae Swanson 11 set assists, 8 ace serves, 4 digs
Jen Kempenich 11 kills, 2 ace serves, 2 digs
Amy Fleischhacker 4 kills, 20 set assists, 4 digs, 2 blocks
Megan Anderson 9 kills, 3 ace serves, 1 dig, 2 blocks
Andrea Almsted 4 kills, 1 set assist, 1 dig, 2 blocks
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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