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High school volleyball: Spuds hold on in 5, Will now play Alexandria for Section 8 title

Moorhead's volleyball team has confounded coach Char Lien with bouts of inconsistency all season. The Spuds' latest gaffe almost cost them a spot in the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 title game. Almost. With a two-set lead, Moorhead blew a big le...

Moorhead's volleyball team has confounded coach Char Lien with bouts of inconsistency all season.

The Spuds' latest gaffe almost cost them a spot in the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 title game. Almost.

With a two-set lead, Moorhead blew a big lead in the third game, but held on for a 25-12, 25-18, 26-28, 22-25,

16-14 win over St. Michael-Albertville on Tuesday in the section semifinals.

"We make some great plays, and then we get tentative," Lien said. "We can't look at those things as frustrating, but as an inspiration.

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"We have to think 'We're getting through this.'"

Moorhead dominated the first two sets, and led 16-9 in the third. That's when the Knights went on a run - with a lot of help from the Spuds.

STMA scored nine of the next 10 points to take an

18-17 lead. During the 9-1 run, the Knights didn't have one kill. Eight of the points came off Moorhead miscues and the other came on an ace serve.

"We just had to fight through it," said Moorhead's Alison Bruggeman, who finished with 11 kills. "They got some things to go their way."

STMA took the third set 28-26, and hung on for a

25-22 win in the fourth, but Bruggeman turned the tide in the decisive fifth set.

The senior hammered down a kill to give the Spuds a 13-11 lead, and after the Knights tied it up, she made a great play to give the Spuds a 14-13 edge.

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Bruggeman's initial kill attempt was blocked, but when the ball came back over the net, she calmly tipped it past both blockers.

"That power tip is a part of her arsenal, but we had been going away from it a little bit," Lien said. "That was all her. That wasn't anything we told her to do. It was Alison making a good play."

A block from STMA's Rachel Hackenmueller knotted it up at 14-14, but the ensuing serve for the Knights went long, and Laura Holsen knocked down a kill to seal the win on the next play.

"We just had to put (the third and fourth sets) behind us, and we did," Bruggeman said. "It feels pretty nerve-wracking playing in a match like that, but it's a thrill, too."

Moorhead was balanced as usual, getting 12 kills from Anna Peterson, 11 apiece from Bruggeman and Holsen, and 10 more from Abby Tietz.

STMA was led by Carly Rothstein's 13 kills in the loss.

The Spuds take on Alexandria in the section championship. That match is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Moorhead has beaten the Cardinals twice this season, and didn't drop a set in either match.

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STMA (kills-blocks-aces): Tessmer 0-0-1, Yager 1-0-0, Kilian 3-0-0, Hackenmueller 8-4-1 (22 assists), Caballero 2-1-2, Westrum 9-4-1, Rothstein 13-2-1, Holslin 1-1-1.

MOORHEAD: Baldwin 0-0-0, Tietz 10-0-0, Petrson 12-2-2, Gilbertson 0-0-1 (47 digs), Penas 6-1-0 (30 assists), Porter 0-0-0, Holsen 11-0-3, Bruggeman 11-2-0, Hubka 7-0-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548

Related Topics: MOORHEAD
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