The Pirates dropped their second straight match, 25-21, 25-14, 25-9.

    In an attempt to climb over .500, the Crookston Pirates welcomed Ada-Borup to the CHS gym. The Pirates hung with the Cougars for the first set, but the intense hitters of Ada-Borup overpowered Crookston in a 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-9) loss.

    Crookston (1-2) kept set one competitive by taking advantage of the Cougars' mistakes mixed with some timely points. The two teams exchanged points until Ada-Borup broke away for a 13-9 lead. Crookston fought back with a kill by senior Rachel Hefta and eventually tied the game at 15-15 with the help of an ace by junior Kasey Cwikla and a kill by senior Hailey Seaver.

    After another run by Ada-Borup, a Hefta kill made the score 18-17 in favor of the Cougars. To counter, three straight points by Ada-Borup put distance between them and the Pirates which led to a 25-21 set one win.

    For the first half of the second set, Crookston capitalized on a pair of aces by Seaver and senior Kylie Solheim, who tallied the most assists (8) for Crookston, to take a 9-8 lead. The Cougars rebounded for five straight points and led 13-9. Cwikla ended the stretch with a kill to put the Pirates within three at 13-10 and Hefta added another kill to make the score 14-11.

    Ada-Borup halted the Pirates' attack, broke out the big guns when it came to outside hitting and outscored Crookston 11-3 the rest of the way to take set two 25-14 and lead 2-0.

    “In set one, we were excited,” Head Coach Ashley Stopa said. “I think we played well, everyone did their job and they all wanted to go for the ball. In set two, I think we waited for other people to take control.”

    Unlike the previous two sets, Ada-Borup jumped out to a favorable 6-1 lead in set number three. Hefta recorded another kill to make it 6-2 and Crookston stayed within four at 10-6 after a Cougar service error.

    Usually a difference-maker on offense, Hefta also contributed defensively by leading the team in digs (11) for the second straight match which caught Stopa's eye.

    “I was really impressed with Rachel Hefta’s defense and serve receive passing tonight,” Stopa said. “Also, [I was impressed with] Sydney Anderson’s communication.”

    Ada-Borup exploited the open court between the front and back row along with delivering blistering outside hits to go on a 15-3 run and eventually won 25-9 to sweep the match.

    Stopa complimented the hitters of Ada-Borup, but was quick to send praise to her players for defending against a talented corps.

    “[Their hitters] did well, but I think our blockers also had quite a few good touches,” Stopa said. “I think, if I’m not mistaken, they were section winners last year, and I think we did an amazing job controlling their hits with our net play.”

    In all three matches this season, the Pirates have yet to win set two which is something Stopa looks to change by the next match.

    “I hope they learn they don’t like the feeling of losing game two,” Stopa said. “I want to win game two on Tuesday.”

    The Pirates will get their chance on the road against Red Lake Falls on Tuesday, September 4 for game number four of the season at 7:30 p.m.

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For feedback or questions, contact the Times at (218) 281-2730, Nolan Beilstein at (940) 372-8175 or by email at nbeilstein@crookstontimes.com