Cloquet upsets Duluth East in volleyball
The Cloquet volleyball team opened the season in fine fashion on Tuesday night by doing something they haven't done in a long time - defeat Duluth East. The Jacks won 3-2, but it was a wild finish to the affair held in hot conditions at the Cloqu...
The Cloquet volleyball team opened the season in fine fashion on Tuesday night by doing something they haven't done in a long time - defeat Duluth East. The Jacks won 3-2, but it was a wild finish to the affair held in hot conditions at the Cloquet High School gymnasium.
"Last year East came out and handled us pretty easily in the first game, so it was a big way to start the season," said Cloquet coach Heidi McKay."
The scores showed the ebb and flow of the seesaw-type games with Cloquet winning 25-20 in game one, losing 25-18 in game two, taking game three 25-23, losing game four 25-12 and then slipping by in the tie breaker 15-13.
The Jacks relied on a relentless and tenacious defense in the first game that did not allow the Greyhound big hitters to get on a roll. In fact, East's biggest run of the game was three points and that occurred only one time in the game.
Meanwhile Cloquet relied on overall team play and the power of Montana Vichorek, Brianna Henagin and Danielle Beck in the first game.
East fought back behind the strong hitting of Krystal Kunst in game two and the power of Brianna Larson and Maria McVean. Unlike the first game, the Jacks had trouble stopping East from going on runs and twice during the game the Greyhounds went on mini-runs of four points in a row.
The Greyhounds grabbed a 4-1 lead in game four, but again the Jacks fought back with Vichorek and Alyssa Wappes providing the power along with Taylor Sautbine the setting. Rachel Sanda provided strong play throughout the night in her libero position in the back row. Three times in the game Cloquet went on four-point runs, but the key run came when they trailed 23-21. The Jacks used a block and a tip at the net to pull to within 23-22 and then it was three straight service points from Katie Konietzko to secure the win.
For all intents and purposes it looked like game four would be a cake walk in favor of the Jacks as they sped out to leads of 6-2 and 8-5, but the scrappy Greyhounds fought back with excellent defense and power hitting from Larson, McVean and Taylor Tyllia.
Any chance for Cloquet ended when they wilted towards the end of the game despite fine play by freshman Katie Schulz who came in and gave the Jacks starters a much needed rest, along with Taya Flaim and Julia Nell.
The end came quickly when the Greyhounds got a side out point on a slam by Tyllia and then eight straight service points by Alison Lothenbach.
"I thought other than the fourth game we did a good job of not letting them go on extended runs," recalled McKay. "Volleyball is such a game of momentum and we were able to break their momentum most of the time."
The final game was a thrilling 15-13 victory for the Jacks that started slowly as East built a 2-0 lead. However, the Jacks seemed to get a second wind as Vichorek, Henagin and Wappes all started finding the floor with a series of spikes and tips as well as off speed shots that sent East reeling.
Cloquet managed to take a 5-2 lead, but East again scraped back to even things and finally, after East managed to tie the game again at 8-8, Cloquet pushed ahead for good. First it was a tip by Wappes, then it was back-to-back spikes by Vichorek and then a nifty move by Wappes to put Cloquet up 11-8.
East made it 11-10, but then the teams bounced back and forth on the next two points putting Cloquet ahead 12-11 before they got a side out point and then a service point from Henagin to go ahead 14-11. The Greyhounds scrambled one last time with Amy Lothenbach serving for a couple of points, but Cloquet finally ended the game as the ball missed the sideline for the first win over East in many years.
"I thought our girls were very smart the entire match," mentioned McKay. "Even at the end the girls were very aware of trying to run certain plays that were open."