Volleyball: Stillwater falls short against Stars

 

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Facing its second highly ranked opponent in three days, the Stillwater volleyball team fell to Southwest Christian 3-1 in Thursday’s nonconference match at Stillwater Area High School.

Southwest Christian, which was the state runner-up in Class A last season, outlasted the Ponies 25-20, 21-25, 25-17 and 25-20. Stillwater (1-2) also suffered a 3-1 loss to Class AAA heavyweight Eagan on Tuesday night.

The Ponies missed just one serve in 84 attempts and all four of their aces came during Game 2.

“We’ve just been serving incredibly accurate,” Ponies coach Bob Fisher said. “We probably need to toughen them up a little bit, but in the game we won that was the obviously conclusion you can draw is that we were 21 for 21 with four aces.”

Bri Momchilovich delivered two of those aces after serving seven times in Game 2. Stephanie Houle and Olivia Welsch also collected an ace.

Additional stats from Thursday’s match were not available.

“Southwest Christian is extremely scrappy and did a nice job getting the ball up,” Fisher said. “Every once in a while our communication on those out of system balls needed some work. Our middles and setters are working on their timing with some of those things, but when the timing is there our middles are a force. We’re not hitting on all eight cylinders yet, but it will come.”

The Chaska-based school is led by senior outside hitter Mackenzie Horkey, who led the Stars’ attack throughout.

“I think our serve receive still needs some work, but it’s not for lack of effort,” Fisher said. “It’s going from the frying pan to the fire for some of these kids with their on-the-job training, but they’re learning from some of the better teams in the metro and they’re stepping up and seeing things from some players you won’t run into every day. (Eagan’s Taylr) McNeil and the young lady from Southwest Christian are two of the better hitters in the metro and probably the whole state.

“When we were successful, our block was setting up early and strong, but when we weren’t so successful our block needs to be formed a little earlier and be a little bit stronger. When we were successful we were also moving the ball around well and getting all the hitters involved. I thought Savannah (Sprenger) and Autumn (Nyehnuis) and Leah (Richter) had good games and when we had the ball rhythm we were able to move the ball out.”

After competing in the Apple Valley Tournament on Friday and Saturday, the Ponies kick off Suburban East Conference play at East Ridge on Tuesday.

“We know we can compete with the best teams in the metro and that’s what we aspire to be,” Fisher said. “It’s a matter of how fast can we step up to that challenge.”

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