Volleyball: Ponies fall to third-ranked Eagan


EAGAN — Playing just its second match of the season, the Stillwater volleyball team jumped right into the deep end while getting swept by Eagan 3-0 in Tuesday’s nonconference showdown. The third-ranked Wildcats defeated Stillwater by scores of 25-14, 25-15 and 25-12.

“It was just a learning experience for our girls,” Ponies coach Jamie Suapaia said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we’re still a little disappointed in our execution. I thought we were prepared, but I may have put too much pressure on them and some of that is my fault. We told them it’s a long season and we can’t base the season off this loss. This gives us some motivation, knowing where we’re at.”

Bri Horwath led Stillwater with 12 kills in 25 attacks with four errors, providing much of the offense on a night when less-than precise passing made it difficult for the Ponies to get into rhythm.

Maddie Brandon finished with nine digs to lead the way defensively and Susan Evans provided 23 set assists.

“Susan was running around quite a bit trying to set to our outsides and Bri, but we just weren’t in system enough to be effective,” Suapaia said. “Our serving and our passing is one thing I’ve been stressing throughout the entire season and those two skills are going to lead us there and those two shut down (on Tuesday).”

All three games played out similarly, with the Ponies hanging in there until Eagan went on extended runs midway through each game.

“Game 1 we were right in it, but down 11-8, and made a few mental mistakes passing and just shut down and couldn’t get our feet underneath us again,” Suapaia said. “They did a good job of finding our holes and taking advantage of single blocks and what not. We just let them get on too many runs instead of stopping them and getting after them ourselves. We let them stay in their game and they took us out of ours.”

Middle hitter Steph Dietrich added four kills in eight attempts for the Ponies (1-1), who host Apple Valley in a nonconference match on Thursday before traveling to Apple Valley to compete in a tournament on Friday and Saturday.