By Brady Ambrose
The Caledonia varsity volleyball team learned some valuable lessons, improved their play and also picked up their first win of the season over the weekend when the Warriors took part in the Aerie Challenge in Apple Valley.
The Warriors went 1-3 over the course of the tournament, losing to Stillwater 10-25 and 14-25 in their first match. Caledonia then picked up their win against Bloomington Kennedy 25-20, 21-25 and 18-16 before losing to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 22-25 and 23-25. Caledonia then fell to St. Francis 21-25, 22-25 to end the weekend 1-3.
Coach Scott Koepke summed up the weekend: “Stillwater is a very high level AAA school that was a great learning experience for our girls. We learned a great deal about blocking strong attackers and what has to happen to get touches on the block. Our girls battled hard and led 11-7 in set 2, and their coach commented more than once on how scrappy our girls were.”
Against Kennedy, the Warriors scratched out a tough win, making a great comeback in the third set to win the match. “We continued to show improvement in this match putting together some very strong volleyball,” Koepke said. “We were down big in set three and made a great comeback to end the match.”
Caledonia then took on Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, located about 400 miles northwest of Caledonia, near Fargo, N.D. The Rebels handed Caledonia a tough loss edging the Warriors by just two points in each game to take the match 2-0. The Warriors then took on St. Francis and also dropped a two game decision 21-25 and 22-25.
In the final two matches Koepke said that the team continued to improve.
“We had some very strong rallies, and our ball control was improved from the previous night. Our team learned a lot this weekend. We made some improvement with our arms out when passing but need to continue to coach better in this area as well as our block. The bottom line is I am very proud of the effort put forth by all the girls. When coaches are commenting on your effort you know your team had a successful weekend.”
Koepke noted the play of senior Lottie Augedahl, saying, “Lottie hit .621 Saturday for these two matches, which is outstanding. She hit .400 for the weekend (.333 is considered very strong). She is really turning into a go to outside for our team. I was most proud of her for how she got her arms out from her body when passing.”
Freshman Sam Schroeder also had a good tournament, hitting .429 out of the middle. Augedahl led the team in aces (four) and digs (24) with Alexy Bearbower and Sophie Augedahl each tossing in 17 digs.
Loss to P-E-M
The Warriors opened up their home schedule Sept. 5 when they hosted P-E-M. In the end, the Bulldogs came away with a 3-2 win after the Warriors played some fantastic volleyball in front of the home crowd but came up just a little short.
The Bulldogs, who have six seniors on the squad, got 36 digs and 16 kills from Josie Montgomery, and Arika Feils dished out 28 assists as P-E-M edged the Warriors 25-27, 25-11, 25-17, 19-25 and 15-13 to get the win.
It was a great match from the start as the Warriors, who trailed 17-1 in the first game, stormed back and tied the match at 23-23.
After the Bulldogs regained the lead at 24-23, Augedahl and Schroeder put down back-to-back kills to give the Warriors a 25-24 lead, but the Bulldogs tied the game when Sophie Augedahl’s serve sailed long. Bit Lottie Augedahl then gave the lead back to the Warriors with a kill and Caledonia won game one when Lauren Rusert hit a cross court spike that gave the Warriors a 27-25 win.
The Bulldogs then regrouped in game two and rolled to a 25-11 win and then took the lead as they hammered out a 25-17 win in game three.
But Caledonia staged another furious comeback in game four to tie the match at 2-2. Leading 9-3, Caledonia gave up eight of the next 10 points as the Bulldogs knotted the score at 11-11. The score remained tied at 15 before P-E-M’s Hayley Rau was called for a net violation and Sophie Augedahl ripped a serve that was too tough for the Bulldogs to handle, giving the Warriors a 17-15 lead.
Another kill from Lottie Augedahl and a Maria Schroeder serve pushed the lead to 21-18, and back-to-back kills from Lottie Augedahl finished the game as the Warriors won 25-19, setting up a winner-take-all fifth game.
In a nip-and-tuck game the Bulldogs took an 11-7 lead, but the Warriors battled back with a 6-2 run and tied the game at 13-13 on a quick-hitter by Rusert into the open court. But the Bulldogs won the next two points to win the game and the match 3-2.
Lottie Augedahl had 16 kills and eighth-grader Adrianna Reinhart had 29 assists to go along with 19 digs from Lauren Rusert and a 7 kill, 17 dig effort from Sam Schroeder.
The Warriors traveled to Dover-Eyota Tuesday night and then return home Thursday for the first of three straight home matches when they host Rushford-Peterson Sept. 12, Mabel-Canton Sept. 16 and Winona Cotter Sept. 19.