Eagles Earn a Split on the Final Day at Aerie Challenge

The Eagles had struggled on day one at the Aerie Challenge and found themselves in the bottom quarter of the draw on Saturday morning.  They were surprised to face the Lakers of Minneapolis Southwest, a tough opponent who had just come off a five-set loss to the Aerie Champions Cretin-Durham Hall. The Lakers also had had the misfortune of facing Aerie runners-up, Stewartville in their opening match, though they took Stewie to three sets. They lost their second match to Moundsview in three sets as well.

Although the Eagles won four of the first six points, the Lakers won four unanswered point to take a lead. They extended their lead to 13-8. The Eagles had a brief three-point run that featured a dig by middle hitter Amanda Jorgenson, and a back-set to right-side hitter Emme Jensen. But the Lakers replied with three points (and two service aces).  The Eagles had an 8-4 run on a solo block by Abby Loe and a kill by Gabby Lanenberg and drew to a 19-20 deficit. However, the Lakers scored the final five points to win the set 25-19.

In the second set the Lakers scored in bursts of three, four, or six points at a time, building a 23-8 lead (with eight service aces). The Eagles tried to rally with a 6-1 run, but it was too little too late. They lost 14-25.

In their fourth match of the weekend, Apple Valley faced Bloomington Kennedy for a second time this season and won in straight sets 25-17, 25-17.  In the first set, Kennedy took an early 5-1 lead and maintained that margin until they led 9-5. However, Amanda Jorgenson hammered out three kills in four successive points, Gabby Lanenberg added an ace, and Abby Loe a solo block for a 9-1 run. Our Eagles held a 20-16 edge, when Kylie Benda stepped back to serve.  Kennedy committed an error and took a time out. After the break, Kylie served up two aces —one that was untouched, and a second that was nearly so. Kennedy scored one more point before Emme Jensen knock down a cross-court shot to end the set.

In the second set, Kennedy served first but Jorgenson had a kill to take the ball to the Valley side of the net.  With Jorgenson serving, Valley jumped out to a six point lead, getting two kills by Brycelyn Paquette, with Jensen getting an assist on the second one.  Valley maintained a two to four point edge. During that stretch Kayla Foster had two kills, one where the ball found the floor, and another on which she tooled the block. Abby Loe added a cross shot and mixed it up with another kill hitting line.  After Loe hit a down ball for a kill, she added an ace, and Valley held an 18-12 lead. Kennedy tried to rally scoring three of the next four, closing to 16-19, but Foster got another kill for the side out. Lanenberg stepped to the service line with a 22-17 lead. Jorgenson had a solo block that ensured that Valley held serve, and Lanenberg closed out the set and match with two aces.

Everyone was happy to conclude the tournament with a win.