Nelson County picks up second straight sweep over Four Winds/Minnewauken
Nelson County volleyball has had to make adjustments as a first-year program unlike any other. Girls who once were competitors are now teammates and learning how to play together instead of against each other.
Along with working as a co-op for the first year, the Chargers had to maneuver around a two week break due to exposure to the Coronavirus in the program. However, out of that unexpected two-week break, Nelson County hasn't lost a set.
Nelson County's (3-2, 2-0 Region 4) Tuesday showdown with Four Winds/Minnewauken (0-4, 0-3 Region 4) saw the Chargers hold an edge through two sets and dominate the third for its second straight sweep 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-6).
"Our third set was definitely better than our second set," Chargers head coach Carrie Eidsness said. "Four Winds competed hard, no doubt about it. We just put together enough to come away with the win."
Those at the service line played a major role in the Chargers closing set as they would accumulate a handful of aces en route to victory. Nelson County scored from the service line 13 times on the night, led off by senior outside hitter Kylee Baumgarn, who finished with six aces. She was closely followed by Nora Johnson (6) and Rylan Parsley (4).
"We had some pretty explosive servers in the third set," Eidsness said. "Kylee Baumgarn can really put the ball wherever they want on the court and that worked in our favor. Kylee went on a really big run there and she was able to spot serve really well. The girls just never really stopped working together."
The strength of the Chargers serving game goes back to strategy in practice according to Eidsness. The Nelson County coaching staff has taught its players to take the short rest period between the last point and the next serve to relax and take a deep breath before serving.
Through the first two sets, Baumgarn had the power behind her attempted kills, but the ball would either go into the net or out of bounds on the line. In the third set she began to connect with her kills, racking up a team high 10 kills alongside her efforts on the service line.
"She does a very good job about placing the ball and if she gets a good hit, she can really control where that ball goes," Eidsness said. "Our setters were starting to work with her and we were just able to explode from there. They work well together."
Junior outside hitter Marit Ellingson and junior setter Abigail Larson played into the Chargers effort as the net as they would break into double digits in assits, with Ellingson picking up 11 and Larson dishing out 10. On the defensive end, Johnson led the team in dig with five and Parsely would stand tall on the front row with three blocks.
All three sets started the same with the Indians jumping out to a lead, but the Chargers would be able to lock in and move forward. Nelson County would win set one by 11, but set two would be a different story. Four Winds would hang with the Chargers for the bulk of the set, pulling within two points at 22-20, but Nelson County would be able to push through into the 25th point threshold.
The Indians effort was led off by junior outside hitter Myona Dauphinais as her presence on the edge would amount to nine kills for the Indians. She would also led Four Winds on the defensive end, picking up nine digs. Sophomore setter Natalia Littleghost would aid Dauphinais' effort with 17 assists.
Nelson County's return to the court has been a long one that is beginning to pay off. When the program was shut down for two weeks the team unanimously voted to continue their season instead of ending it right there and then. Playing on back-to-back nights, and pick up back-to-back wins, the Chargers key to success has been something they've been emphasizing the entire season: communication.
"They knew they had to work together as a team and talk," Eidsness said. "We've said from the beginning that communication is going to be a key or it's going to be a blocker. We've just been fortunate the last to nights that it's been our key."
In putting the pieces together of learning how to play together and establishing a strong sense communication, the team is looking forward to enjoying every competition they play from here on out. The Chargers will look to build upon those qualities moving into a diverse schedule, facing Havey/Wells County on Thursday and No. 6 Langdon/Edmore/Munich next Tuesday.
"We're just trying to key in on the positives of each game," Eidsness said. "They do well and they stride. They're coachable and they know they need to work on those things, and they're aware of the things they need to work on. Focusing on the positives and what we need to work on gets them focused for the next game."
Tuesday Lake Region volleyball scores
Nelson County - 3 (25-16, 25-21, 25-6)
Four Winds/Minnewauken - 0
Leaders: Kills - NC: Kylee Baumgarn (10), FW: Myona Dauphinais (9), Digs - NC: Nora Johnson (5), FW: Myona Dauphinais (9), Assists - NC: Marit Ellingson (11), FW: Natalia Littleghost (17), Blocks - NC: Rylan Parsley (3)
No. 6 Langdon/Edmore/Munich - 3 (25-11, 25-8, 25-5)
Rolla - 0
North Star - 3 (25-15, 25-12, 25-11)
St. John - 0
Benson County - 3 (25-18, 25-14, 25-11)
Harvey/Wells County - 1 (25-20)