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VOLLEYBALL: Bemidji survives slow start to down East Grand Forks

Bemidji senior Myria Colley spikes a winner past East Grand Forks’ Kelsey Schlenk during the first game Tuesday evening at BHS. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — It took a while for the Bemidji volleyball team to hit its stride Tuesday at home against East Grand Forks but the Lumberjacks were able to recover from a slow start and outlast the Green Wave 19-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-23.

Tuesday’s victory gave BHS an 8-9 record while the Green Wave lost for only the fifth time in 18 matches.

“East Grand Forks is a very good team,” said Bemidji coach Teresa Colligan. “We like playing against strong competition because that forces us to play our game. We want to be forced to play our best because that is what will make us a better team.”

During Tuesday’s first game Bemidji was flat and the visitors coasted to the 25-19 win.

“We weren’t talking in the first game,” Colligan said. “And when we don’t communicate we don’t play well.

“After that game I told the senior leaders that they had to bring some spark and some fire into our play. That’s what they did and their teammates responded.”

Myria Colley led the way with a power game that kept EGF off balance. Claire Laakso also was strong at the net as the senior constantly disrupted the Green Wave’s attack by working into position to stuff home any attempted kill shots.

Leading 9-7 BHS took control of the second game with an 8-1 spurt that featured a pair of Laakso blocks, Brylee Colligan’s spike, a combined stuff by Colligan and Emily Falldorf and four EGF errors.

Spikes by Cheyenne Woods and Colley closed the curtain on Bemidji’s 25-15 victory.

“Our communication was much better,” the coach said of the Game 2 victory. “The girls decided to talk and when they communicate on the court they play better.”

The teams battled on even terms in the final two games but Bemidji found a way to win each set down the stretch. A spike by Woods and an East Grand Forks miscue ended Game 3. The fourth game was knotted at 23-23 before Colley ripped a winner down the line and Alexa Greendahl teamed with Laakso for the match-ending stuff.

Colley finished with 15 kills while Colligan had 12 and Falldorf seven.

Falldorf also contributed five winning blocks while Laakso had four and Greendahl three.

Hannah Olson paced the defense with 16 digs and Colley added 14.

Greendahl dished 41 set assists and had an ace. Colley contributed a pair of aces and Karlie Leif had one.

The Jacks return to action Friday when they head to Grand Rapids. The Thunderhawks were 16-1 prior to Tuesday’s match against Deer River.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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