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Tigers earn sweep over Cougars

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Springfield’s Eva Mark (4) attempts to tip the ball past Cedar Mountain’s Teresa Larsen and Mykenna Vollmer (12) on Thursday in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield made short work of Cedar Mountain on Thursday night in Tomahawk Conference volleyball action, rolling to a 25-11, 25-10, 25-15 win.

Cylee Graff led the Tigers’ (9-11, 2-4) attack with 14 kills and 10 digs, while Sydney Hauger had eight kills and three blocks and Meriah Kirschstein added six kills. Also for Springfield, Eva Mark had 26 set assists, while Kora Wahl had three ace serves, three kills and 13 digs.

The Cougars (2-16, 0-7) had a tougher night on offense, with Teresa Larson leading the team in kills with five, while Nadia Meyers added three kills and had seven set assists. Morgan Engholm had 24 digs, while Shaylee Schiller had 12 digs and Hailey Hollar had 11 digs.

After dropping five matches in a row and the last two in five sets, Graff said that it was exciting to get the sweep over Cedar Mountain.

“It was really exciting [to get the sweep] because a lot of our matches so far have been five sets and a loss or five sets and a big win,” Graff said. “So winning in three and sweeping them was really big tonight.”

After Larsen had a kill to tie the first set at 4-4, the Tigers went on a 5-0 run that had four consecutive Cougar errors and a kill by Kirschstein to lead 9-4 and force a Cedar Mountain timeout. With the Cougars trailing 10-8, the Tigers pounced again with a 5-0 run that had a kill each by Hauger, Wendt and Kirschstein and ended with an ace serve by Mya Mickelson.

The Cougars only were able to add 3 points after the run before an ace serve by Wahl put the Tigers up 1-0 in the match.

A pair of early kills in the second set by Graff and a block by Hauger to put Springfield up 6-2 was ended on a kill by Bella Harmoning, but that didn’t slow the Tigers down as they ended the second set on a late 8-0 run.

Springfield took a 9-4 lead early in the third set after a pair of kills by Graff and an ace serve by Tori Roiger before the Cougars forced a Springfield error and got their first kill of the set off of a swing from Meyers. An ace serve by Trista Smith followed the kill and a Springfield error had the Cougars down 13-10.

But Springfield again got a 5-0 run to lead 18-10 and despite the Cougars looking more aggressive in the third set, the Tigers held them off and finished the match on a kill by Alexis Clemon.

With just around two weeks left of the regular season, teams are starting to think of where they can improve late. Graff said that the Tigers have been improving defensively this year but are looking to improve their work at the net.

“We’re looking to get better defensively and up at the net, because lately it’s been good on defense but struggling up at the net,” Graff said. “So hopefully it all comes together before playoffs.”

Both teams will participate at the Jimmy John’s Invitational Friday and Saturday at Southwest Minnesota State University.

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