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Mounders stunned in opening round of regionals

It probably should have come as no surprise that the Osseo-Fairchild volleyball team was a lot better than their losing record and number six seed indicated when they began regional play at Elk Mound Oct. 20. Most of the Thunder’s losses came to conference powerhouse and state ranked teams such as Eau Claire Regis, Stanley-Boyd, Fall Creek and Altoona. The Mounders had earned a number three seed by finishing as the runners up in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference and had several big wins under their belts after playing in a lot of weekend tournaments this fall. Both teams had their share of scoring streaks in this match but in the end it was Osseo-Fairchild with the final streak as the Mounders lost in five sets to end their season.

After falling in a deep hole by losing the first two sets 25-17 and 25-20, the Mounders had to pull themselves up by the bootstraps to make sure they weren’t swept in front of their home crowd. They did just that as they took early leads and came up with big plays to win the next two by scores of 25-15, 25-17 to set up the fifth and final set. After taking a 5-2 lead on a Hannah Flatness kill and her block, the Mounders let the Thunder back in it and the score was tied at 7-7 and 8-8 before the Mounders lost a pair of points off Thunder serves. The game went back and forth and Elk Mound pulled ahead 16-15 on two Flatness points but they couldn’t finish things off as the Thunder rolled back for the 20-18 win.

“We didn’t come out ready to play and Osseo-Fairchild did,” Mounder coach Samantha Weix said. “We were slow on offense and defense and I think some nerves came into play. We missed six serves in the first two sets and we were called for blocking in the net several times. We needed to focus on controlling the things we were able to control and clean up on our side of the net. We made some changes with players and we started to execute better in the third and fourth set but every time we sided out it was for a tie and every time O-F sided out it was for a match point which is a big difference.”

Senior Flatness finished her season with a 21 kill performance and two blocks, Morgan Radtke added 10 kills and three blocks and Serena Wieser added seven kills and 14 digs from the back row. Kari Jo Nigon led in digs with 19 and had 17 assists, Madysen Borofka set her teammates up 26 times and Allie Weber had three of the Mounders’ five ace serves while collecting 14 digs.

“Our season ended sooner than we expected but a 7-1 conference record and a winning season is pretty good considering we had only two girls with any varsity experience and a fairly young team,” first year head coach Weix concluded.