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Farmington volleyball continues to develop, starts season 3-1

Junior setter Charlie Nelson was all over the place for the Tigers. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Doherty and senior libero Brenna Hesse both dive for a ball during Farmington's loss to Northfield. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
Junior setter Brynn Timerson serves during the first set against Northfield. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Senior outside hitter Kellie Doherty goes for the kill. Head coach Michael Woody praised the improvement Dougherty has made since last season. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

The Farmington Tigers volleyball team continues to develop in significant ways after winning just six matches last season with a very young squad. However, after graduating no seniors in the spring, the Tigers bring back their team with more experience and another year of development. The results are already showing as Farmington has started their season 3-1 with wins over Owatonna (3-0), Faribault (3-0) and Rochester Century (3-0). Their lone loss came to Northfield Tuesday night in five sets.

Head coach Michael Woody said his team has come a long ways since last season.

"This group was young last year, and it's almost the same group together, so they're kind of learning that oh, we can play with these ranked teams," he said. "We are that good, so now we can't sit back and feel relief, because all of a sudden quickly it gets away from you."

So far this fall, Woody said his team's strength is on the defensive end.

"Defensive ball control," he said. "We dig up more balls in system rather than just keeping them off the floor, which frustrates other teams. When they do things that usually are kills and we're hitting the ball right back at them because our defense is so good, that takes the wind out of their sails and puts momentum on our side."

He went on to say that one thing the Tigers need to work on is maintaining the proper mindset.

"Just continue to play with that belief and confidence," Woody said. "Every single point. We're letting the flow of the game affect us. It's a game of momentum, so we're going to have the shifts where we go down, we have to snap out of those and believe faster and cut those runs into shorter links."

Through the first couple weeks of the season, Woody said one player in particular has shown tremendous progress.

"Kellie Do

herty (a senior outside hitter) has really come out and lifted her game from where she was last year," he said. "A lot of the girls had the progress you'd kind of expect, but she's really jumped a couple steps, a couple rungs on the ladder. That confidence and fight in her has been a big difference. A little bit of surprise, but I knew it was there, just glad to see it's coming out."

Northfield

The Tigers' Tuesday-night matchup against the Northfield Raiders was back-and-forth and extremely competitive. Farmington took an early lead in the first set and survived a Northfield comeback to win 26-24. The Raiders responded with a significant early lead of 10-3 to start the second set and the Tigers were never able to get close, dropping the set 25-15. With the match tied 1-1, Farmington won another closely contested set by an identical 26-24 score. Like earlier in the match, the Tigers experienced a bit of a let down to start the fourth set and lost 25-18, sending the match to a fifth and final set. This one was close the entire way until the Raiders pulled away late to take the set 15-11 and the match 3-2.

Overall, Woody said he was happy with how his team played and how they took the Raiders out of their comfort zone.

"We did things to take them out of what they do well, because they have to run their middles to be successful, they have good outsides but their outsides aren't the strength of their game," he said. "So we took them out of that and we dictated the tempo in game one, which allowed us to do things better."

Standing out for the Tigers was senior middle hitter Myiah Scott, who seemed to come up with big play after big play.

"She's just an athlete and a competitor," Woody said about Scott. "She's been a sponge for everything that we've been teaching her. We started match one and she could hit the ball kind of to the corner with a little bit of pop on it, and now she's hitting balls left and right, mixing up the speeds, doing the best she can with the ball rather than just going up there swinging randomly at the ball. She's just been a sponge and having that kind of competitor on the floor fuels everybody else too."

The Tigers travel to North St. Paul on Saturday for a tournament and then host Eastview on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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