Crookston battled back from a 2-0 hole to tie it, but ultimately fell 3-2.
Two days after the Pirates lost a five set match to Warroad, Crookston found themselves in another battle to five sets against East Grand Forks. It was the Pirates’ turn to make a comeback. Trailing 2-0, Crookston tied the match at two sets apiece, but the Green Wave put the Pirates away in the fifth set.
The first set featured a back and forth effort between the two teams. Trailing 18-15, Crookston started a 3-0 run with a kill by Katelyn Wagner. The Pirates later tied it in a long volley that featured a diving dig by Teagen Carlstrom. Carlstrom finished the match with 42 digs. The set stayed close and East Side managed to take it 25-22 thanks to some mistakes by the Pirates.
Crookston jumped out to a lead in set number two. A kill by Rachel Hefta made the score 17-12. Then a long volley won by East Grand Forks swung the momentum their way as the Green Wave went on an 11-6 run to tie the game at 23-23. Two points later, East Side possessed a 2-0 lead.
Facing a loss, the Pirates controlled the third set. Crookston led 20-15 after a kill by Katelyn Wagner. A few errors by the Pirates allowed the Green Wave to tie the set at 20-20. Aleece Durbin gave the Pirates the lead on a spike that snuck through blockers’ hands. Kylie Solheim, who played an excellent game at setter recording 42 assists, later made a nice tip to make it 23-20 and a Green Wave violation kept the Pirates alive as they took the third set 25-21.
Down 2-1, the Pirates dominated the fourth set. Crookston took advantage of the East Grand Forks mistakes and led 15-10. Hefta then delivered a kill with her left hand en route to a 22-14 lead. The Hefta kill was one of 18 for the evening.
The Green Wave began to inch closer, but a kill by Hope Schear ended the threat to make the score 23-17. Schear tallied a season high six kills on the night.
Another violation by East Grand Forks ended the set and Crookston had come back to tie it 2-2.
“They wanted this game,” Head Coach Ashely Stopa said. “They came together as a team, communicated and played their hardest.”
Perhaps the rigors of playing two five set games in three days began to catch up with the Pirates in the fifth set. The set was tied 3-3, but 7-1 run by East Grand Forks put the momentum back in the hands of the Green Wave as they finished the Pirates winning 15-8.
“Even though we lost, those were two of the most exciting five set matches ever,” Stopa said. “They kept fighting through everything. It’s hard to play two five set games in a row. Mentally, they’re amazing and they’re ready for Monday.”
The Pirates now own a record of 5-11-3 and will next play against Barnesville at home on Monday, October 9. The match starts at 7:30 p.m.