GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Eagles drop tempo

Set ups proved crucial in determining control for a Thursday, Sept. 27, Mount Rainier Lutheran non league 3-1 girls volleyball match win at the Evergreen Lutheran campus in Des Moines.

Evergreen Lutheran dropped to 4-3 overall with a 1-2 SeaTac 2B record.

In a September match at Mount Rainier Lutheran on September 13, the Eagles had prevailed in five hard fought sets against the Hawks.

"The big thing that hurt us over time tonight was that our passing was more inconsistent," said Evergreen Lutheran head coach Allen Ash. "Our setters were all over the place and our coverage was spotty."

In the first set, the Eagles capitalized on superb transitions with the offense and defense to break away from a slim 9-8 lead and forged a margin of 14-8. Six-footer Karissa Kjenstad led good front line attacks that were buoyed by good defense and setter play.

Evergeen Lutheran gradually built up the distance from its opposing team by matriculating the ball over the net for scores to build leads of up to nine points. Leading 20-12, the ebullient Eagles kept the halting Hawks from attacking on the front line to close out the set behind Kjenstad's service game.

The teams exchanged proverbial see-saws of short point runs and side-out changes until they reached a 19-19 tie in the second set. Mount Rainier Lutheran used angle kills to gain a 21-19 lead, but Evergreen Lutheran rallied to lead at 23-22. MRL then rebounded to claim a 25-22 set victory.

Opening up the second set aggressively, the Eagles shot to leads of seven and nine points early and still held an 18-10 control before the Hawks took to the air and flew back at their attackers. Excellent serving and angled attacks that caught Evergreen Lutheran out of position chopped away the Eagle command until Evergreen Lutheran was clinging to an 18-17 edge.

With the home crowd echoing its enthusiasm, the Eagles pursued a four point run capped by Kjenstad's kill and assumed a 22-17 lead. Again, Mount Rainier Lutheran recovered to close within 22-19 and 23-22. Evergreen Lutheran reached set point after claiming a side out at 24-22. The Hawks refused to fold and ran off a 4-0 run to win the set.

"The team was working great together," said Kjenstad, who had a bristling night with 10 kills. "The setters were getting the ball in position. Later, the team got out of position and the hitters were unable to get to the ball."

Mirroring the overall competition that featured long volleying points, the squads laid it on the line in set No. 4. The teams kept in close contact throughout until the Eagles clutched a 15-14 advantage. Mount Rainier Lutheran miscues and dynamite digs brought Evergreen Lutheran into a lead of 21-16 that quickly became 21-18.

The Hawks netted their serve for a side out to the Eagles. A Kjenstad kill and Jenai Schwark's serving ace set up Evergreen Lutheran with a 24-16 lead. Five missed set point chances later, the squads were embroiled in a 24-24 deadlock. Mount Rainier Lutheran held a set point at 25-24 before Evergreen Lutheran tied the fray again on a mishit Hawk serve.

Given another chance, the Eagles just missed on a sideline kill attempt ahead of an MRL point on serve to end all proceedings for the night at 27-25.

"We've really had a lot of good attacks this season," added coach Ash. "The younger players have stepped it up. They have good aggression and are not afraid."

Kira Zehfus earned seven kills for the Eagles and Emma Poetter had 15 assists.

Evergreen Lutheran 2012 varsity volleyball features Emma Poetter (S/OH) as the lone senior while Kelsey Birsching (DS), Kira Zehfus (OH), Kelsey Sorum (DS) and Karissa Kjenstad (OH) represent the junior class. For the sophomores, Mallory Finn (OH), Amelia Menges (MH) and Kari Severeid (L) step up. Emily Holder (RH) and Jenaia Schwark (RH) are freshmen.

Ann Poetter and Ruth Schwark are assistant coaches to head coach Allen Ash.

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