Sacred Heart makes short work of 'timid' Pirates

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Rylee Solheim goes up for a kill during Crookston's 3-0 loss to Sacred Heart on Monday.

The Crookston volleyball team hasn't had too hard a time getting out to leads this season.

The Pirates led late in three of four sets Thursday against Ada-Borup, did the same in the third set at Fertile-Beltrami Saturday and was ahead of Sacred Heart, 6-2, at the first stoppage Monday at home.

But that turned out to be the high point of the night for Crookston, which fell to 0-3 by being swept by the Eagles (25-20, 25-13, 25-11) at home. Sacred Heart picked up its first win of the season.

"We needed to just communicate like we did in the first two games, and then also not be as timid and just go," said coach Ashley Stopa. "We have a lot of talent, we just need to trust each other."

While building chemistry has been an understandable challenge for the Pirates, who have had just two practices together as a full team, Stopa thought their communication took a step back Monday.

It probably wasn't related to the quality of their opponent. Even though Sacred Heart went 27-5 last season, Stopa didn't think her team was necessarily intimidated — in her view, they weren't intimidated against the Cougars, the defending Section 8A runners-up, or the Falcons, a perennial contender in the section.

A likelier suspect could have been due to Crookston playing its third game in five days — Stopa readily admitted her players were tired from their most recent contests.

"Mondays are tough too," she said. "Between a Monday and between that packed schedule, we just have to find a way to energize ourselves."

Whatever the case, things began to "snowball" around the middle of the first set. With the score tied at 15, Sacred Heart ran off 10 of the next 15 points to take the set, fueled by Avery Horken's six kills.

The Eagles began to assert themselves at the net and with their serves — they had 11 of them on the night, Grace Vonesh and Sydney Lloyd each contributing four. This enabled them to turn the second set into a rout behind a 9-1 run midway through.

The third set was all Sacred Heart as well. Behind Kyra Majors' five kills in the set, the Eagles took a 14-7 lead and didn't look back, while the Pirates were plagued by hesitation.

"They moved the ball around," Stopa said. "With our lack of communication, we just didn't know where it was gonna go."

One bright spot on the night, Stopa thought, was Crookston's blocking. The Pirates had six as a team — Destiny Goulet-Ramirez, Hannah Loraas and Rylee Solheim each contributing two. Solheim and Mallorie Sundeen each had four kills as well.

But they'll be happy to leave the rest of Monday's contest in the past.

"I would like a reset to games one and two," Stopa said. "I think that this one, we'll reflect, we'll forget and then we'll move on."

UP NEXT: The Pirates are on the road Tuesday at Red Lake Falls. The Eagles are 1-1 and coming off a three-set sweep of Warren-Alvarado-Oslo on Monday.

Sacred Heart will be back at home Tuesday to take on Ada-Borup West. The Cougars have not played since their season-opening 3-1 win over Crookston on Oct. 8.


Emma Boll serves during the first set.
  • Sacred Heart 3 (25-20, 25-13, 25-11), Crookston 0


  • Crookston: Mallorie Sundeen 4, Rylee Solheim 4
  • Sacred Heart: Kyra Majors 11, Avery Horken 10, Bella Knudson 6, Sydney Lloyd 3, Grace Vonesh 2, Dana Walski 1


  • Crookston: Destiny Goulet-Ramirez 2, Hannah Loraas 2, Rylee Solheim 2
  • Sacred Heart: Kyra Majors 2


  • Crookston: Emily Funk 4


  • Crookston: Emma Boll 4, Emily Funk 4, Libby Salentine 3
  • Sacred Heart: Dana Walski 28, Paige Brandner 4, Avery Horken 4


  • Crookston: Emily Funk 2
  • Sacred Heart: Grace Vonesh 4, Sydney Lloyd 4, Paige Brandner 2, Avery Horken 1

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