GFW tops Sleepy Eye

SLEEPY EYE – Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop defeated Sleepy Eye 23-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-7 in a Tomahawk Conference battle on Thursday night.

In the first set, Sleepy Eye found itself in a 15-10 hole, when the front row began to show its strength. Cassidy Hoffmann’s serving brought the Indians back to a 19-19 tie after a few big kills from Mya Ibberson. Scoring then went back and forth until Mariah Miller broke a 23-23 tie to end the set with Sleepy Eye winning 25-23. Ibberson added a key block to keep the ball in Millers’ hands.

“We were down in the first set and we came back to win, we played well,” Sleepy Eye coach Nicole Jensen said. “I feel that Cassidy Hoffmann served the best for us tonight, it seemed that every time she was back there we went on a run.”

In the second set, GFW dominated the ball, opening up a nine-point lead within the first 15 points. Sleepy Eye struggled to keep the serve, only once keeping the ball more then two consecutive points. The Thunderbird hitting was dominant with six kills being awarded to them during the second. Leading the charge for the Thunderbirds was Haley Schwecke and Katelynn Firle in the front row. Schwecke had 11 kills leading GFW to a 25-14 win.

“Our mentality and our focus just wasnt their in the first set, we had to really dig deep and make sure we brought that to the second set,” GFW coach Stephanie Rodning said.

The third set was again a well-fought battle with both teams showing strong defensive play. Sleepy Eye struggled early again while serving. Hoffmann brought the game back within one point as she went on a four-point run adding two kills of her own.

“Again, we were down in that set, Cassidy Hoffmann went on a serving run for us to help catch up,” Jensen said. “We talked the whole night just about continuing to work hard.”

GFW opened up a 19-14 lead, with Schwecke tallying four kills.

“[Schwecke] is always such a positive spark, and always is willing to take any coaching tips she can get to improve her game,” Rodning said. “She can really get on top of the ball and put it away, tonight was her night.

Hoffmann added another five-point run to bring Sleepy Eye within two at 22-20. GFW held on to take the set 25-21, bringing it one set away from clinching the match.

GFW’s defense improved each set and it showed its strength holding Sleepy Eye to seven points in the fourth set. Jennifer Palmer had seven consecutive points to open the set to make it 7-0.

GFW kept this pace the entire set, giving a lot of credit to its back row and some huge blocks from the front. The Thunderbirds ended the night with a 25-7 win.

Ibberson ended the night with 11 kills, McKenzie Cselovszki delivered six kills and Cassidy Hoffmann had 24 set assists for Sleepy Eye. Defensively, Sleepy Eye’s Courtney Dittbenner ended with 13 digs.

GFW’s Schwecke and Firle both had 11 kills with Victoria Sweely delivering eight kills. Jennifer Palmer had six kills, 29 set assists, 17 digs with six ace kills to lead the Thunderbirds.

Sleepy Eye will host Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night.

GFW will travel to Cedar Mountain/Comfrey at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.