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home : sports : sports Tuesday, May 24, 2016

9/14/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Blazers seize the momentum, knock off Sabers in four

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

Two games were already in the books, but control of Tuesday night's WaMaC East clash between the Central and Dyersville Beckman volleyball teams was still very much up for grabs.

And that made for a highly entertaining third set as both squads eagerly attempted to seize the momentum in the match.

The result was a game with 14 ties and eight lead changes. Unfortunately for the Sabers, the last tie was broken by the Blazers, who scored the final three points for a 25-22 win.

With the momentum now on its side, Beckman, who is ranked 15th in class 2A, finished Central off in game four, using a stretch of 14-straight points to help complete a 25-20, 24-26, 25-22, 25-14 victory.

The Sabers got off to a good start in the match as their first serve of the night turned into a Mackenzie Kuehn ace. Katie Irwin followed with a kill, and it was 2-0.

Beckman answered with two points of its own, and then followed a second Irwin kill with two more to take its first lead.

Irwin struck once more for Central to tie things up, and Amanda Brainerd added her own to answer a Beckman point to knot things up at five.

The next four points, however, came from the Blazers, who took advantage of three Central miscues and a kill to go up 9-5.

The Sabers responded in kind, using a kill by Abbey Grau, two attack errors and a service error to pull within one at 10-9.

Central, though, would get no closer in game one as a 10-4 Blazer run pushed the lead to seven.

The Sabers did pull within four on two occasions with the latter instance involving Central fending off two set-point situations, but eventually Beckman scored the point it needed to wrap up a 25-20 win.

The two teams split the first eight points of the second game before the Sabers created some breathing room with a 7-2 push.

Olivia Haack and Grau had kills during the run with the former player also wreaking havoc with her serve.

Beckman ended the surge with three-straight points, but Central kept rolling, answering with three points of its own and pushing its lead to six (16-10).

Unfortunately, the advantage did not last. The Blazers immediately cut the lead in half with another three-point run and then answered a Central tally (when Beckman hit a serve long) with three more points to pull within one.

The Sabers ended that run with a kill by Ellie Ladehoff, but the Blazers put together one final three-point stretch to take their first lead since 2-1.

Central answered with a kill by Haack to tie things up, but then put their next serve into the net.

Brainerd helped tie things up again with a kill, and this time Haack followed with an ace to put Central back in front.

The lead was short-lived as two-straight Beckman points switched it back to the Blazers. The teams traded points (Grau had a kill to tie things up again before the Blazers hit their own kill), and it was 23-22 Beckman.

Central answered again with Grau smacking her second-straight kill, and the Sabers were the team to pull in front as Ladehoff got her hands on a Beckman kill for a block.

Beckman prevented the Sabers from wrapping up the game by hitting a kill to knot things at 24-24. Irwin, though, broke the tie with a kill, and the Blazers' attempt to answer sailed out of bounds preserving Central's 26-24 win.

The Sabers' marathon win set the stage for a game three that was tight (no team led by more than three) and dramatic.

Central got out to a good start and built one of those three-point advantages at 5-2 - just like game one, Kuehn started things with an ace, and Irwin followed with a kill. Irwin added another kill during the Sabers' opening push with Haack adding one of her own.

The Blazers, though, erased their three-point deficit, and the margin between the two teams would not reach three again until the final point of the game.

Beckman pulled in the front for the first time at 7-6, and the two teams traded leads six more times in the game.

Central's last lead of the game came at 21-20 as the Sabers erased a one-point deficit, thanks to back-to-back kills by Ladehoff and Irwin.

The Blazers answered right back with two kills to take the lead right before Ladehoff tied up the game at 22-22 with another kill.

Central, though, put its ensuing serve into the net and did not score again as Beckman used a block and a Saber violation to finish off a 25-22 win.

The Sabers got off to a good start in their attempt to extend the match to a deciding fifth game as they build an 8-5 lead in game four.

Things slipped away, however, as Beckman reeled off 14 consecutive points to put Central in a big hole.

The two teams matched points the rest of the way (six apiece), but the damage had been done, and the Blazers wrapped up their victory.

Irwin spurred the Central attack, which produced a season-best 44 kills in the match, with 15 kills, while Ladehoff added eight, Brainerd seven and Grau and Haack six each.

Kuehn, meanwhile, assisted on 42 kills to go with four aces (Haack had four aces as well in the match).

Libero Stephanie Schrader had 13 digs with Haack adding 10 and Becca Grell nine. Ladehoff and Kuehn combined for a pair of blocks with Brainerd and Grau both adding assisted blocks.

The match came three days after the Sabers went 1-2 at the Muscatine Invitational.

Central cruised in its match with Burlington, taking down the Greyhounds 21-13, 21-15, but came up short against the hosting Muskies (21-9, 21-14) and West Liberty (21-19, 21-12).

The Sabers piled up 19 kills in their victory with Haack leading everyone with six. Brainerd contributed four and Grau three, while Irwin, Kuehn and Ladehoff all had two.

Kuehn assisted on 15 of the kills with Haack and Schrader also setting up individual kills. The latter pair also combined for 12 digs with Schrader notching seven and Haack five. Kuehn served up four aces in the win with Irwin adding three and Grau two.

Brainerd had over half of the Sabers' kills against Muscatine and also came up with the team's lone block. Schrader, meanwhile, led the team with six digs, while Haack and Irwin chipped in four apiece (Haack had four aces as well).

Central received a balanced offensive performance against the Comets with seven different players notching a kill.

Grau and Irwin led the way with three apiece, while Brainerd and Ladehoff both had two. Kuehn assisted on 10 kills with Haack also having a dig.

Schrader again paced the defense with 11 kills with Haack collecting four of her own. Both Sabers also had aces in the match.

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