MV Gets Sweet Serves to Beat LMM

MONTPELIER — There are nights where things just click for a team.
Tuesday, the Maple Valley High School volleyball team had one of them.
With the exception of a short time early in the second set, the Raiders controlled the tempo of the game, from the serve to the net play, in a 25-6, 25-18, 25-15 road win over Litchville-Marion/Montpelier.
"They're finding their confidence and they're finding their level of play," Maple Valley coach Jessica Theurer said. "They're really coming around, and they need to this at time of the year."
Early on, the Raiders made the most of their serves.
After allowing three points in the opening set, Abby Tinjum had a kill, which put her at the service line, where she helped the Raiders score 11 straight points and take a 12-3 lead.
Much of the effort during the run was because of net play from Megan Kasowski and Rylee Nudell, who quickly found their rhythm on the front line.
After two quick points on kills by the Rebels, Maple Valley got the ball back and increased their lead to 22-5 on serves by Kasowski. The run included several aces.
"What killed us tonight was definitely our serve receive," LMM coach Ryan Nelson said. "You can't let teams get eight points in a row to start it off. It's tough to dig yourself out of a hole."
A serve into the net got the Rebels one more point, but serves by Katie Pautz put it away 25-6.
Maple Valley took a 3-0 lead early in the second game, but LMM kept it close with a few kills from Tanys Ulmer and serving struggles by Maple Valley, who hit numerous serves either into the net or beyond the back line.
It wasn't until a kill by Cassie Pautz to make it 11-9 that Maple Valley started to run away with the second set. The kill set up a run to make it 15-9. The closest LMM got from there was within five points.
In the third set, Maple Valley got behind more solid serves from Tinjum, who led the Raiders to the first six points, and Katie Pautz, who helped the Raiders score on five straight serves to make it 15-2 early. The Raiders held a substantial lead the rest of the way.
Though the loss was tough, Nelson was pleased with how his team has played recently.
He credited hitters Tanys Ulmer and Kelly Susa from coming up with key blocks against Maple Valley's front line, which includes Nudell and Kasowski.
"They had some huge blocks on her, which was good to see," he said.
Samantha Haakenson led LMM with 12 digs. Maple Valley's defense limited Ulmer to five kills. Ulmer was the only Rebel with more than one kill. Ulmer also had three blocks.
Theurer was pleased with the team play from her girls.
"It was even play all the way around," she said. "All the girls played their rolls very well, played as a team and got the job done. As a coach you can't ask for anything else."
VCHS 3, Devils Lake 1
The Valley City High School volleyball team got a key Eastern Dakota Conference win Tuesday in Devils Lake.
The Hi-Liners beat the Firebirds 20-25, 25-17, 25-11, 25-20.
VCHS continues its season this weekend at the Scheels Fargo Invitational tournament.