EAST GRAND FORKS - The Crookston Pirates took a 3-1 record into East Grand Forks to take on the Sacred Heart Eagles. The Pirates were able to hang around in each of the three sets, but were unable to get many rallies going as the Eagles swept the Pirates in three sets.

EAST GRAND FORKS - The Crookston Pirates took a 3-1 record into East Grand Forks to take on the Sacred Heart Eagles. The Pirates were able to hang around in each of the three sets, but were unable to get many rallies going as the Eagles swept the Pirates in three sets.    

    Throughout the first half of the first set, Crookston trailed, but managed to stay within two to three points. The Pirates made it 13-11 after a Rachel Hefta kill, but that was the closest the Pirates would get as Sacred Heart immediately began a 12-5 run to take the first set 25-16.    

    Crookston stayed even closer in the second set. A nice block by Hailey Seaver tied the score at 5-5. At one point, the Pirates led 10-9, but Sacred Heart earned a point after a spiked ball landed barely in bounds to tie the score again.    

    A few points later, Seaver recorded another block to give Crookston the 12-10 advantage and later, an Eagles service error put the Pirates in the lead 13-12.   

    Once again, around the middle of the set, Sacred Heart began to take control this time outscoring Crookston 13-3 after trailing 13-12. Another 25-16 Eagles win put the Pirates’ backs against the wall now down in sets 2-0.   

    Head Coach Ashely Stopa explained her team’s ability to stay in the game and what happened when Sacred Heart dominated the second half of both sets.   

    “We were really communicating well in the first few points,” Stopa said. “Then they [Sacred Heart] got a few big kills and I think that kind of made them communicate a little bit less. Once that broke down, we couldn’t get quite as many balls over that we wanted to.”   

    The third set did not offer as much back and forth action as the first two sets. The Pirates still kept themselves in the game. A block by Hefta put Crookston down 8-4 and an off balance spike that found the court floor by Aleece Durbin made the score 10-5 in favor of the Eagles.   

    Crookston inched a little closer when Hefta put a floater over the net and landed in between a number of Eagles to put Crookston down 14-10. But Sacred Heart began to put the set out of reach and eventually finished off the Pirates 25-12.    

    Stopa credits the defense of her team for keeping them in the game for most of the match.    

    “Anyone who played defense did an amazing job,” Stopa said. “Katelyn Wagner really stepped it up and so did Kylie Solheim. Overall, the defense was amazing.”   

    With a record of 3-2, the Pirates will head back home where they will welcome Norman County East on September 11. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.