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VOLLEYBALL: Lumberjacks put it all together at Moorhead

MOORHEAD -- Throughout the first three matches Bemidji High School volleyball coach Teresa Colligan saw signs that the Lumberjacks could be a very good team. But those signs were continually countered by stretches of play that featured inconsistencies and intermittent court communication.

Thursday at Moorhead, however, the coach witnessed the full potential of her players as the Lumberjacks defeated Moorhead 25-20, 25-23, 25-21.

The victory was the first in four matches for the Jacks and Colligan believes that Bemidji should experience continued success down the road.

"I'm so proud of these girls," an exhausted Colligan said after Thursday's victory. "We've seen bits and pieces of what we could be all season but tonight they put it all together. A performance and an effort like this had to come some time and it's always nice to do something like this in Moorhead."

Keeping the ball in play and taking advantage of the offensive opportunities were the keys to Thursday's win. Myria Colley paced the attack with 15 kills and Brylee Colligan, Claire Laakso and Emily Falldorf each ripped five winners.

Defensively Talia Lucken, making her first start as a libero, contributed 19 kills. Hanna Olson added nine digs and Colley eight. Alexa Greendahl dished 25 set assists and Laakso blocked five kill attempts.

"Tonight we made far fewer errors than we have in the first three matches," Colligan said. "We had few hitting errors, our blocking was much better and we had only five service errors. When you don't give any free points you have a good chance to beat anybody and we didn't give many points away tonight."

All three games were close from start to finish although Bemidji did open a 23-14 lead in the second set. Moorhead (1-2), however, battled back and drew within 24-23 before Colley ripped her fifth winning kill of the game to give Bemidji a 2-0 lead in games.

"We communicated well on the court and we dug in when we needed to," Colligan said. "It was an emotional match and it is fun to see a performance like this.

"Hopefully tonight's win will give the girls and the team the confidence we need to move forward."

Bemidji's next chance to make a statement will be Monday when it hosts Brainerd at 7:15 p.m.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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