Thief River Falls shut out the Pirates 25-15, 26-24, 25-8.
Missed opportunities haunted the Pirates in their match against Thief River Falls. Crookston let a close set one slip away, watched five set points go in favor of the Prowlers in the second set and dropped set three 25-8 for a 3-0 loss.
The opening set saw the Prowlers jump out to a 4-0 lead. A couple errors committed by Thief River Falls allowed Crookston (2-5) to creep back now down 4-3. After a point for TRF, the Prowlers followed with two hitting errors allowing the Pirates to tie the score at 5-5.
One more ball hit out of bounds and a kill by Kasey Cwikla (Jr. OH/MB) put Crookston ahead 7-5. The Prowlers tied the score at seven apiece, Rachel Hefta (Sr. OH/MB) responded with a kill to grant the Pirates an 8-7 advantage, but TRF responded with four straight points to go up 11-8.
“We started a new offense yesterday,” Head Coach Ashley Stopa said regarding her team’s efficiency during set one. “We kind of moved some people around. I put Rachel back at middle just for a big block and that I think helped.”
Down 14-9, the Pirates battled back to get within three capped off by a kill from Hailey Seaver (Sr. MB). The run for Crookston ended there as Thief River Falls went on to outscore the Pirates 11-4 and win set one 25-15.
Crookston erased the 10-point defeat from their minds and surged out to a 10-4 lead to open set two. Hefta tallied a kill in the process as did Katelynn Genereux (Sr. S). After the Genereux kill, Seaver recorded a block and back-to-back kills to put a ribbon on the run.
Seaver ended the night with eight kills and eight digs.
“[Seaver’s] really picked it up,” Stopa said. “I think her and KG [Genereux] just want the ball. I’ve been putting Seaver in the back row a lot more, she’s been playing all the way around and she’s done an amazing job getting down, talking and serve receive passing.”
Sydney Anderson (Sr. MB/RS) got in on the action with two blocks to increase the Pirates' lead to 18-9. With their backs against the wall, the Prowlers took momentum with a 6-2 run. Hefta and Seaver kept TRF at bay and each notched kills in a three-point span and Crookston still held a 22-16 led.
The Pirates reached 24 and the Prowlers sat at 19 on the brink of a set loss, but seven straight points brought TRF all the way back and more to win set two 26-24.
Stunned after watching a nine point lead evaporate, Stopa could not quite put her finger on what went awry.
“I don’t know what happened,” Stopa said. “We’re going to talk about it. We wanted the ball, we wanted that game, but we just couldn’t make it happen.”
The momentum proved to be too much to overcome for the Pirates, the Prowlers cruised to a 25-8 set three victory and clinched the match 3-0.
Thief River Falls outscored the Pirates 42-8 after Crookston led 18-9 in set two which sent Stopa back to the drawing board in preparation for upcoming matches.
“The serve receive gets nervous because the hitters aren’t aggressive and the hitters aren’t aggressive because they don’t know what balls are going to come up to the setter,” Stopa said.” It’s kind of a cycle that we need to break.”
The Pirates are off until Monday, September 17 when they trek to Roseau for a match at 7:30 p.m.
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