Volleyball: Cards come up shortAlexandria pushed St. Michael-Albertville to five games and extra points before falling in the 8AA championship
A memorable season for the Alexandria volleyball team ended in heartache last Friday night as the Cardinals fell in a thrilling five-game match against St. Michael-Albertville.
In game five, Alexandria was serving for game point with a 17-16 lead, but Katherine Harms recorded a side-out kill to knot things up at 17. Harms then went to the serving line and put the match away with two straight points, including a kill from the back row to end the contest.
It was a back-and-forth match all night between two of the top teams in Minnesota. The Cardinals came in ranked No. 7 in the Class AAA polls. The Knights entered with a No. 4 ranking.
Fans traveled to St. Cloud expecting to see a thriller and that is exactly what they got. Alexandria rallied for 25-22 wins in games two and three after falling in game one. The Knights forced a game five with a 25-20 win in game four and were serving for game point at 14-10 in the deciding game.
The Cardinals then put together a spirited run behind a block and a kill by Angela Christianson to get within 14-13. Ariel Carlson then completed the comeback with a kill to tie things up at 14.
That gave Alexandria new life, but the Knights persevered for the Section 8AAA championship and a trip to St. Paul for the state tournament.
“Friday’s match was possibly the best high school match ever seen,” Alexandria head coach Becky Anderson said. “Both teams played hard, and it is too bad we both weren’t able to move into the state tournament, as a match like that may not occur there.
“The girls played with a ton of heart, enthusiasm and determination. I couldn’t have asked for more. Although it is a very disappointing thing, [all the] girls should be proud of themselves, and the community should be proud of them and support them as well. They played an evening of amazing volleyball.”
The Cardinals once again used a balanced attack to keep the Knights guessing at the net. Carlson led the team with 15 kills, but Sam Dale was not far behind with 12. Christianson and Jacque Brown each contributed with seven apiece.
Dale was all over the court on defense with two blocks and 52 digs. The Cardinals’ defense at the net made it hard for St. Michael Albertville’s attack all night long. Alex had 21 blocks as a team, six each coming from Carlson and Sam Trumm.
The loss ends a season for the Cardinals that saw them go 24-5 overall and 12-0 in the Central Lakes Conference. They did not drop a game all year in conference play.
“The girls have had a fantastic season,” Anderson said. “Be sure to let them know this as you see them these next couple of weeks. They should be very proud of what they’ve done.”
ALEXANDRIA LEADERS – Sam Dale – 12 kills, 2 blocks, 52 digs; Ari Carlson – 15 kills, 6 blocks, 3 aces; Angela Christianson – 7 kills, 3 blocks; Jacque Brown – 7 kills, 4 blocks; Alicia Montbriand – 2 kills; Nicole Throngard – 2 kills; Sam Trumm – 1 kill, 6 blocks; Katie Brown – 1 kill, 29 assists; Keely Gross – 17 assists; Val Smith – 23 digs; Greta Wood – 2 aces, 27 digs; Kaitlin Becker – 1 block