While their records were complete opposites, only one thing separated the St. Cloud Tech Tigers from the Brainerd Warriors Thursday.
The Central Lakes Conference-leading Tigers entered the volleyball contest at Brainerd High School with one loss. Brainerd owned just one win.
The only other difference was Tech's ability to close matches. That led to a 3-0 sweep.
"At times we served them tough, but at key times of the game we missed that serve," said Warriors head coach Carla Stall. "That really is a momentum buster for us."
The missed serve seemed to happen late in each game and helped the Tigers win 25-20, 25-19, 25-23.
Tech 3, Warriors 0
Key: Brainerd's inability to close out a match led to its 3-0 loss to Tech
Conf: Brd 1-10, Tech 11-1
Overall: Brd 6-20, Tech 16-5
Next: Brainerd hosts Fergus Falls 7 p.m. Tuesday
The Warriors never led in game one or in game two. But in each game they stayed close.
"Our coverage had a few holes in it," said Stall. "We had a hard time adjusting to their cross-court hitting. Overall, I think it was a good effort. It was just a matter of key moments when we lost the momentum and couldn't get it back."
In game three Brainerd managed leads of 6-5, 14-11, 19-18 and 22-20 before Tech closed with a 5-3 run for the sweep.
"They get a run of three points and then we get one. They get a run of two points and we counter with one," said Stall. "We have to learn to get a run ourselves. We need to get more excited about the good things we do and less frustrated about the bad things because the bad things are what takes us down."
Nikker Graumann led Brainerd with 13 set assists and seven ace serves. Tika Klauck added five kills
and eight digs. Emily Thesing contributed seven digs and four kills for the Warriors.
"We feel like we were right in there," said Stall. "We've been in a lot of our matches. We're excited to go into the playoffs. We have a lot of energy. We just need to know what to capitalize on and when to make that push to close it. We have to learn to finish that ball instead of having long rallies."
St. Cloud Tech 25 25 25
Brainerd 20 19 23
Carlie Kramer 3 digs
Angie Maurer 6 digs, 2 aces
Emily Thesing 4 kills, 7 digs
Kendra Rehnblom 3 digs
Tika Klauck 5 kills, 1 block, 8 digs, 1 ace serve
Krystle Radtke 4 kills, 5 digs, 1 ace serve
Nikker Graumann 13 set assists, 1 block, 2 digs, 7 ace serves
Alice Widmark 2 kills, 1 dig, 1 ace serve
Ashley Sangrait 1 kill, 1 dig, 1 set assist
Tess Rahto 4 kills, 5 digs
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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