Titans sweep Rockets at home
D-V-E welcomes victory in Crystal
When Drayton-Valley-Edinburg (D-V-E) and Minto met a week earlier, the Titans escaped with a 3-2 win over the Rockets in Minto.
Last Thursday, the Titans, in front of a boisterous student body-filled crowd in Crystal, dispatched Minto 3-0.
“The girls like playing here,” Head coach Kelli O’Toole said of the Crystal gym. “The (students) have been very supportive and it makes for a fun atmosphere.”
The victory was a welcome one according to O’Toole who has seen her Titans lose two of their last three matches.
In-between their previous win over the Rockets, the Titans lost to Park River-Fordville-Lankin and North Border, the teams that currently own the top two spots in District 4.
“We haven’t been playing very well lately,” O’Toole said. “We had a very good practice (Wednesday). Think that carried over to how we played tonight.”
All three games were close at various stages.
Game one was a back and forth affair with both teams trading points in the early going.
Minto held an 11-9 lead and had scored three consecutive points until D-V-E senior Courtney Estad stopped the run with a kill.
With senior Morgan Ellingson at the service line the Titans reeled off four-straight points to take the lead for good, 13-11.
D-V-E eventually pulled away for a convincing 25-14 win. The stretch run included five straight service points by Courtney Estad and a pair of kills by junior Ally Braathen that made the score 19-12 in favor of the Titans.
Leading 20-13, senior libero Abbie Sondeland served up four straight points with the help of a kill by Jalyn Larson to make the score 24-13. A misfire into the net by Larson made the score 24-14, but the Rockets committed a net violation during the next volley to give D-V-E the victory.
Game two started close again. With the score tied at 9-9, D-V-E went on a 9-3 run to take a commanding, 18-12 lead on the way to a 25-19 victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Game three was another close battle with both teams trading points most of the way.
The Titans looked poised to pull away, leading 13-9, but the Rockets battled back thanks in part to three-straight service points by freshman Lydia Severson.
A kill by Helen Schuster tied the score at 16-16, but a service error on the next point put the Titans back in the lead.
With the score tied at 17-17, the Titans committed back-to-back hitting errors to make score 19-18 in favor of Minto. A tip kill by Nicole Zon made the score 20-18, but the Rockets couldn’t hold the lead, allowing the Titans a 7-0 run to end the game 25-20 and complete the sweep.
“That’s been the story this year. We always play teams close and get the lead, we just can’t quite finish them off,” Minto first-year head coach Derek Meyer said. “It’s always the little things that make a difference. The good news is we still have time to figure things out.”
The loss dropped the Rockets to 1-6 in the district and 2-15 overall. Meanwhile, the win improved the Titans to 6-2 against district opponents and 14-6 overall.
Larson and Braathen led the Titans’ hitting attack with 14 and 11 kills, respectively. Courney Estad added five kills, followed by Kalyn Woinarowicz with two. Woinarowicz led D-V-E with 22 assists, followed by Morgan Ellingson with nine. Courtney Estad served up 10 aces, followed by Ellingson with six. Braathen led the Titans with two blocks, followed by Larson with one.
Haley Hovde and Faith Maendel led Minto with two kills each. Hovde led the Rockets with four aces, followed by Maendel with three and Alyx Altendorf with two. Maendel and Zon had two blocks each.