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Spuds lean on Rogalla in sweep of Sartell

Moorhead 3, Sartell 0 - Up next: Moorhead at Alexandria, 7 p.m. Friday There might be a half dozen girls the Moorhead High School volleyball team looks to when it's looking for kills. When it needs a big block, all eyes are on Kaitlyn Rogalla. Th...

Moorhead 3, Sartell 0

- Up next: Moorhead at Alexandria, 7 p.m. Friday

There might be a half dozen girls the Moorhead High School volleyball team looks to when it's looking for kills.

When it needs a big block, all eyes are on Kaitlyn Rogalla.

The Spuds senior delivered on defense again on Wednesday, scoring five solo blocks to lead Moorhead to a 25-15, 25-20, 25-16 sweep of Sartell in the first round of the Minnesota Class 3A, Section 8 tournament.

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"That's her forte, because she can really jump and she reacts to hitters so well," Moorhead coach Char Lien said. "This was probably one of the better blocking nights she's had."

Rogalla's defense provided a spark for the Spuds in all three sets, but she did the bulk of her damage in the second game.

After Moorhead battled back from an early deficit to take a 15-14 lead, Rogalla helped the Spuds close out the match with three kills and a pair of blocks down the stretch.

"I don't know what it was except for the setters were doing their job when I was hitting, and my blocks were just getting there," Rogalla said. "...We're using all of our players right now. There's not just one of us to watch out for."

In the first set, her first block of the match started a rally that turned a 4-3 Sabres lead into a 15-6 Moorhead advantage.

In the third game, she had three kills and another block during a Spuds rally that moved their lead from 10-9 to 21-12.

Rogalla finished with nine kills, and the Spuds (16-11) were led by Kassie Hooten's 12 kills. Anna Peterson also had seven, and Alison Bruggeman added five kills and four blocks. Laura Holsen had four ace serves.

"It makes it a lot easier when we have that many people contributing," Rogalla said. "The blockers don't know who to block, and if one person's having a rough night, there are a lot of other people to go to."

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Even though the Spuds cruised to the three-set sweep, there were letdowns at the end of each game.

Up 21-11 in the first, Moorhead allowed Sartell (17-13) to score four straight points. There were also late four-point Sabres rallies in the second and third games.

"Once again, it comes back to lacking focus," Lien said. "I think we get a little bit tight at the end of games, and it all falls to passing - and then everything comes undone.

"We need to clean that up. We have a tendency to play better when the pressure's on, but we have to play at that high level consistently."

Up next for the Spuds is Alexandria (22-4), the top seed in the Section 8 North. The Cardinals have already beaten the Spuds once this season, a 25-19, 25-13, 25-18 decision in mid-September.

"They're just a complete team, and their No. 1 thing is confidence," Lien said. "They're aggressive with their serve, and they back it up with great defense and a variety of hitters.

"We'll have to do better than we did (against Sartell), and we'll have to be at the top of our game."

SARTELL (kills-blocks-aces): Uran 0-0-2, Flynn 3-1-0, Nielson 3-1-0, Terhaar 8-2-0, Abby Jarnot 1-0-0, Ziegler 0-0-0, Skudlarek 0-0-1, Halicke 0-1-0, Legatt 1-0-1 (13 assists).

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MOORHEAD: Baldwin 0-0-2, Peterson 7-1-0, Gilbertson 0-0-1 (16 digs), Penas 3-3-1 (22 assists), Ostlie 0-0-1, Holsen 2-2-4, Hooten 12-1-1, Bruggeman 5-4-1, Rogalla 9-5-0.

Readers can reach Forum sports writer Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins' blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com

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