BEMIDJI – Among the question marks when the high school volleyball season began was who would grab the setter’s position.
All associated with the BHS volleyball program knew that the team possessed the power game but shooting bullets from the guns isn’t possible unless someone is there to load the weapons.
That someone turned out to be Alexa Greendahl. The main junior varsity setter a year ago, Greendahl welcomed the challenges associated with moving up in the ranks. And in Bemidji’s 25-20, 19-25, 25-16, 25-16 home victory over Grand Rapids Thursday the sophomore dished 48 assists which her hitters turned into winning kills.
“There is pressure being a setter,” Greendahl said. “Setting for the varsity was tough at first but I pushed through it. And my hitters are always helping me. They tell me what to do.”
Among the recipients of Greendahl’s work are seniors Jess Yost, Allie Heifort and Blake Bardwell plus juniors Timi Severson and Myria Colley.
In Thursday’s victory Yost ripped 26 winners, Severson 19 and Heifort 13. Bemidji’s dominance at the net was most evident in the third game. With Greendahl orchestrating the attack, Yost delivered nine winning smashes and Severson blasted seven.
“If someone is hot I definitely try to go to them,” Greendahl said. “But I also check the blockers and listen to who is calling (for the set).
“I’m learning every day and trying to get better each night. I think I’m a better setter now than I was at the beginning of the year. At least I hope I am,” she added.
“You don’t get much praise being a setter,” said Lumberjacks assistant coach Netti Homer. “Alexa works very hard and is having a fine year.”
So are the Jacks. Thursday’s victory was Bemidji’s 11th in 14 matches and it was a win that the Lumberjacks had to work for.
The Thunderhawks entered Thursday’s match with a 9-3 record, the lone losses coming at the hands of Hermantown (3-2), Orono (2-0) and Duluth East (3-0).
BHS dominated the first game and a blown spike by the Thunderhawks provided the winning point in Bemidji’s 25-20 win.
The second set, however, followed a different script as Grand Rapids led most of the way and snapped a 16-16 deadlock with seven consecutive points.
A spike by Anna Yurick capped a 25-19 Grand Rapids win and evened the match at a game apiece.
“Grand Rapids is a scrappy team and after that game we told the girls that we had to be just as scrappy,” said Jacks coach Teresa Colligan. “We told the girls that we can’t hesitate.
“We also didn’t communicate very well in the second game and that led to many of our problems,” the coach added.
The players took the coaches’ advice in the third game. Behind Greendahl’s precision setting and the rifle shots from Yost and Severson, BHS rolled to the 25-16 victory.
The trend continued in the finale, a game that was highlighted by a 5-0 run which began with a Yost spike and ended with a Yost ace.
“Overall, I thought our passing and receiving was better Thursday than it has been for a while,” Colligan said. “In the third and fourth games we did a nice job of making adjustments. We were forcing the issue and that was great to see.”
In addition to smacking 13 kills, Heifort contributed a pair of blocks and four aces.
Bardwell finished with three stuffs and Colley added two.
Yost also had 24 digs while Jasmine Yerbich collected 15, Hanna Olson 13, Greendahl nine and Colley eight.
Bemidji will be on the road next week. The stretch begins Tuesday at East Grand Forks and on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 the Jacks will play in the St. Michael-Albertville Invitational.