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Owls win Pheasant title; playoffs next week

The senior volleyball players thanked their coaches during Parents Night at the home game last week. Photo by Gregg Cunningham

By Kristi Fehr

The Owls volleyball team split a pair of games last week and won the Pheasant Conference championship.

On Monday, Hancock fell to Parkers Prairie but rebounded to defeat Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley on Tuesday.

The Owls knew going into the Parkers Prairie match that they would need to play smart and disciplined to win. Unfortunately they were without their starting middle, Lauren Nelson who was ill. The Owls were forced to play unfamiliar lineups, but came out in game one played strong offensively. The Owls passed well and won game one 25-18.

Game two was close with the Owls losing 23-25 after struggling with their passing and serving late in the game. They then dropped games three and four by scores of 25-17 and 25-21 to end the match.

"Even though this was a loss, I was extremely proud of the way these girls played and stepped up their game in the absence of Lauren," said coach Kristi Fehr.

Bree Holleman and Lindsie Cunningham showed great leadership by keeping the team composed and positive and Abby Ascheman did a great job coming in to fill Lauren's position, Fehr said.

Kendra Schmidgall led the team with 20 kills and Aria Walstad had 35 set assists. Bree had a great all-around night with 18 kills, 11 digs, 2 aces blocks and 2 ace serves, Fehr said.

Lindsie also had a good match, with 8 digs and going 15 for 21 in serve receiving. Ali Reese served 16 for 16 for the night. Shae Brown also stepped into some different roles and played solid serving 3 for 3 and serve receiving 3 of 4. Courtney Greiner did a great job at the net having 4 ace blocks and 3 kills, Fehr said.

On Tuesday, the Owls played their last conference match against CGB, knowing that a win would wrap up the Pheasant Conference championship, which was one of their goals at the beginning of the season.

The Owls were again without Lauren but Abby stepped up her game, Fehr said.

The Owls took charge early and won in three games by scores of 25-16, 25-20, 25-21. The passers again did a good job getting Aria Walstad some good passes to get our hitters into their offense.

Kendra led with 21 kills and 1 ace block and Bree followed with 14 and 7 digs. Courtney and Abby did a nice job at the net with Courtney having 1 ace block and 5 kills and Abby having 1 ace block and 4 kills. Aria did a nice job getting hitters involved, coming away with 36 set assists and also 6 digs.

The Owls served 97 percent for the match, an improvement over their 89 percent the night before. Ali served 17 for 17 with 2 aces and Courtney gained confidence by going 16 for 16 with 2 aces. The Owls are 19-5-1 overall and 7-1 in the conference. They finish the regular season Thursday at home against Canby, and sub-section play-offs begin next week.