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Volleyball: Following a familiar pattern

Farmington senior Katie Habeck notches another block during last Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Rochester Century.

In Farmington's first loss of the season Sept. 2 against Lakeville South, the Tigers hung with the talented Cougars throughout a 25-19 Game 1 loss, then fell well off the pace over the final two games of an eventual sweep.

Several matches have followed that formula for the Tigers, who now find themselves at 5-8 after a streak of five straight losses. They lost by scores of 26-24 twice during a loss to Rosemount, dropped a 25-23 Game 1 during a loss to Chanhassen and played close games throughout their three losses at the Farmington Tournament two weekends ago.

"We've had that happen a lot. We've been stuck in that pattern where we play well, get to that point where we have a chance to win, and instead of going for it, we have mental errors and give points away," Farmington coach Mike Woody said. "That carries over and turns into doubt and errors on our side."

The Tigers played well during last Thursday night's trip west to take on fifth-ranked (Class 3A) Shakopee, but the Sabers snuck away with a pair of close games before closing with authority in a 25-21, 25-22, 25-8 sweep.

"We left Shakopee feeling really good, knowing the little things we need to do to stay in close matches," Woody said. "We need to learn how to win. Chanhassen, Century, Jordan, Delano, Osseo, all those games where we were competitive and at the end we can't score two points. Once we can get those it's going to be anybody's ballgame and we're going to be in a lot of four- and five-game matches."

Woody said his team's struggles late in close games have been mostly mental.

"Sometimes it's them trying to do too much, then other times they're trying not to make mistakes, so we're giving the ball back to the other team rather than being aggressive," he said. "Yesterday we worked on swinging to get a kill, rather than just hitting the ball. When we get a good set, we need to look to score a point."

Senior Katie Habeck led the Tigers with 13 kills against Shakopee. Jordan Bridges added six kills and Laura Steege had four.

Mia Johnston and Halee Lundquist split setting duties, with Johnston providing 12 assists and Lundquist 11.

Brook King paced the defense with 13 digs and Habeck tacked on seven.

The Tigers lost a late lead in Game 1 and got swept 25-22, 25-16, 25-17 by Rochester Century last Tuesday night at Tiger Gym.

"We just had a bad night," Woody said. "We didn't pass well enough, we didn't play defense well enough. Every aspect of the game was just a little off."

Habeck paced the team with 13 kills, five blocks and 15 digs.

Lundquist added 11 assists and 10 digs.

The Tigers resumed their schedule Tuesday with a home game against 12-3 Rochester Mayo. They play at home again tonight in a 7 p.m. Missota Conference matchup against 2-6 Holy Angels before hitting the road Saturday to participate in the Rochester Century Tournament.