Volleyball: Another fast startThe Farmington volleyball team has jumped out to winning streaks of four, six and four games to start each of the past three season.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
The Farmington volleyball team has jumped out to winning streaks of four, six and four games to start each of the past three season.
Coach Mike Woody credited those fast starts to both his team’s readiness and a less-than-stellar schedule. This year the team is off to another 2-0 start, but Woody said a lackluster schedule no longer has anything to do with it. The Tigers opened with a four-game win over a much-improved Hastings squad last Thursday in the first game in the new Tiger Gym, then traveled to Rosemount Monday and scored a three-game sweep over the Irish.
“The first couple seasons our schedule wasn’t as strong early except for the Rosemount game. We’ve broken up that easy start by scheduling some new teams,” said Woody, who now has a career record of 60-23 in three-plus seasons at FHS. “A lot of it comes to off-season play. Each year I’ve been surprised that we’ve been able to find a way to win all these matches. Usually you win half of your early games and you lose half and you learn from it.”
The biggest challenge in the Tigers’ revamped early-season schedule comes tonight when Lakeville South comes to Tiger Gym for a 7:30 p.m. contest. The Cougars were 18-10 last year and finished sixth behind five ranked teams in the tough Lake Conference.
Junior middle hitter Katie Habeck lit up the stat sheet with 24 kills and 18 blocks — including 12 solo blocks — Thursday in leading the Tigers to a 25-12, 25-12, 23-25, 28-26 win over Hastings.
Habeck worked with a pair of senior setters who were making their varsity debuts — Rachel Sand and Samme Skokan. Sand finished with 25 assists and Skokan added 13, helping pile up the kills for Danielle Dombeck (11), Lauren McHenry (seven) and Erin Wynings (six).
Woody said Sand and Skokan both played very well in the first two games. He plans to run a 6-2 offense this season and continue to use both players at the setter position.
Defensively, Alexia Rains supplied a team-leading 22 digs in her first game in the libero spot. Beth Pappenfus added 20 digs and Dombeck supplied 17.
In Monday’s showdown with Rosemount, Farmington pulled away for a 25-19 win in Game 1 before having to hold off the Irish in a pair of back-and-forth games. The Tigers trailed by seven points before rallying for a 26-24 victory in Game 2, then saw an eight-point lead slip away before claiming Game 3, 25-22.
Habeck once again led the way with 13 kills and 12 blocks and Dombeck was right behind with 12 kills and 11 digs. Front row contributions also came from Jordan Bridges, who turned in a career-high seven blocks.
Pappenfus led the back row with 15 digs, Rains added 10 and Habeck chipped in eight. Setters Sand and Skokan lofted up 18 and 10 assists, respectively.
“The girls really handled being up and down a little bit,” Woody said. “This win really helped going into Thursday night against Lakeville South. It will probably be our toughest test before we get into conference play.”
After Lakeville South, the Tigers will close out their pre-conference schedule with a home game next Tuesday night against Austin. The Missota Conference slate opens next Thursday with the long road trip west to take on Hutchinson.