Serving O'Brien & Clay Counties

Strong finish saves the day in regional opener

H-M-S recovers from 2-1 deficit to defeat Rebels

Sioux Central was one win away from advancing to the next round of the 2A regional volleyball tournament, but Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn had other ideas. Coming back from a 2-1 deficit, the Hawks defeated the Rebels, 3-2, on Oct. 18 at Sioux Rapids.

A surge midway through the first set gave H-M-S the lead, but Sioux Central's late rally made the 25-23 final score seem closer than it was.

"We came out strong," said Hawk coach Cheryl Kroese. "We were passing the ball well and executing well offensively."

The momentum switched to the Rebels' side of the net for the second and third sets, leading them to 25-20 and 25-15 wins. The Hawks' late rally in the second set fell short and they faltered down the stretch in the third.

"We had too many unforced errors," Kroese acknowledged.

The Hawks' 11-2 lead in the fourth set paved the way for a convincing 25-12 win to tie the match. An early lead in the final set helped secure the 15-9 victory.

"I was extremely proud of how the girls came out strong in game 4," Kroese said. "They played with enthusiasm and emotion, and those were keys to the comeback."

Seniors Jasmine Lux and Emily Otto led H-M-S with 14 and 13 kills, respectively. Lux also contributed two solo blocks and an assist while Otto had one solo block and three assists. Another senior, Kaley Pearson, contributed five kills, three block assists and a team-leading 20 set assists.

Abby Douma added four kills, one solo block and one block assist, while Abby Kunzman had three kills. Frankie Mohni contributed nine set assists and Kunzman had four.

H-M-S recorded 75 digs, led by Pearson and Kunzman with 16 each, Emily Mutombo and Elise Haack with 14, and Abby Otto with 10.

The Hawks served well (94.8 percent). Abby Otto was 18-of-18 with two aces; Pearson was 18-of-18 with an ace; Kunzman was 19-of-20 with two aces; Mohni was 18-of-20 with three aces; Haack was 11-of-11; and Mutombo was 8-of-10.

H-M-S improved to 2-16 overall while Sioux Central finished its season at 2-19.

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