In a match with dramatic momentum swings, Estherville Lincoln Central stood tall in the end with a five-set win over North Union on Thursday.
North Union (8-8) had more match experience this season than the Midgets and it showed in the first game. Prior to Thursday's contest, the Warriors had played two weekend tournaments and a quadrangular.
ELC had played two matches and nothing since Tuesday a week ago.
ELC senior Allie Sievert led her team’s attack against North Union in the 14-25, 25-15, 25-22, 20-25, 16-14 Midget victory on Thursday.
EDN photo by David Swartz
After playing to a 4-4 tie to start the first game, ELC struggled with the serving of Maaike Weiser, who rattled off several points
Falling behind 11-5, ELC rallied back to within 14-11, but at 20-14, Weiser served out the final five points concluding on an ace.
"We didn't look like we were ready to play a varsity level team," said ELC coach Tyler Johnson. "We kept tipping and setting the ball over the net."
In the second game, the Midgets began taking bigger swings at the ball and their fortunes were reversed.
ELC pulled away at 13-11 with four straight points including kills by Allie Sievert and Paige Guge and an ace serve from Katie Gruhlke.
Leading 19-13, Megan Jensen served three straight aces to put the game out of reach. ELC ended the game with a block by Sievert at the net for the 25-15 win.
In the third game, ELC grabbed he lead at 5-4 on a kill by Guge. Although the Warriors tied the game several times, ELC didn't relinquish the lead. The last tie came at 2-22, but ELC scored the final three points on a kill by Allie Sievert, an ace serve by Casey Sievert and a hitting error by the Warriors.
"The second and third games were more aggressive and it was like a like turned on," said coach Johnson.
In the fourth game, the Warriors bounced back and built an 18-12 lead.
ELC took advantage of several miscues by the Warriors along with kills by both Casey Sievert and Allie Sievert to get within 20-19.
But a kill by Sara Johnson followed by an ace serve by Jasmine Clausen gave North Union a 23-20 lead.
Colette Haag ended a long rally on the next point with a kill and an ace serve gave North Union the 25-20 lead.
In the deciding fifth game, the seesaw battle went to the very end.
North Union had match point at 14-13, but a service error tied the game and gave the ball back to ELC. Guge then recorded a kill to make it 15-14.
After a Warrior time-out, Jensen hit a shallow serve that the Warriors couldn't dig up to give ELC a 16-14 win.
Jensen had nine ace serves on the night while Casey Sievert had six. Kristen King had 28 digs and Guge had 22.
For North Union, Madison Bollig had 13 kills, Aurora Oliver had 10, Johnson and Haag each had eight and Allie Ingalls had seven.
Weiser had nine ace serves.
Cheyanne Boland had 15 digs while Haag had nine and Ingalls had eight.
Oliver had five blocks, Bollig had four and Johnson had three. Ingalls had 22 set assists and Weiser had 20.
North Union and ELC are both at the Spirit Lake Tournament on Saturday.