The Pirates so far are winning games. Four games into this young season, Crookston sits at a record of 3-1. Their most recent victory came over Red Lake Falls in a tight match the Pirates won in four sets.

    The Pirates so far are winning games. Four games into this young season, Crookston sits at a record of 3-1. Their most recent victory came over Red Lake Falls in a tight match the Pirates won in four sets.    

    Half way through the first set, it appeared as if Crookston would be playing from behind when they trailed by as many as eight points in a 20-12 deficit. After an 11-3 run, the set was right back where it started with the score tied. The Pirates were able to finish off the Eagles 25-23 and take the first set.   

    The second set was a different story. Crookston jumped out to a 9-1 lead, but found themselves on the wrong end of a 12-1 Red Lake Falls run.    

    With the score 13-10, the scoring was back and forth. At one point, the Eagles grabbed a 23-22 lead and 25 points were not enough to settle this set. Crookston eventually took a 2-0 set advantage 28-26.    

    Head Coach Ashley Stopa commented on her team’s ability to keep coming back and responding to Red Lake Falls’ runs.   

    “They fought really hard,” Stopa said. “I’m impressed with their grit, their tenacity and just making sure that they take care of the ball.”   

    Facing elimination, the Eagles took a big 22-15 lead in the third set. Crookston once again went on a wild run and tied the game 23-23 on a Katelyn Wagner kill.    

    The Pirates even got the set to match point with a 24-23 lead capping off a 9-1 run. However, the Eagles scored the set’s final three points and won 26-24 to extend the match to a fourth set.    

    Junior middle hitter Rachel Hefta, who tallied 11 kills on the night, spoke on the mentality of the team in the later sets.   

    “We kind of got a little bit too tired, but we came back in the fourth set with a new mindset that we can do this and we just need to calm down and play our own game,” Hefta said.   

    The fourth set was unlike any set before it in the sense that there were no major runs by either team. The teams found themselves tied at 15-15 before Crookston took control.    

    A 10-5 run by the Pirates gave them the 25-20 set four and match win.    

    The Pirates were without their starting setter Kylie Solheim who left the game with an apparent wrist injury early in the match. While missing a key player, Stopa was not worried about the team’s performance suffering.   

    “We have a pretty deep lineup with a lot of people who can play different positions,” Stopa said. “We had KG (Katelynn Genereux) step in and she did a great job.”   

    Headlining the defense, Teagan Carlstrom recorded 22 digs and Aleece Durbin had 21. Carlstrom also had four aces.    

    Along with Hefta on the offensive front, Katelyn Wagner earned nine kills on the night.    

    The Pirates will take their 3-1 record to East Grand Forks when they play Sacred Heart on September 7. The match starts at 7:30 p.m.