September 3, 2009 at 8:28 a.m.

Tornadoes blow past Wildcats in opener

Tornadoes blow past Wildcats in opener
Tornadoes blow past Wildcats in opener

Anoka 3, Chisago Lakes 1

Just like last year, the Chisago Lakes Wildcats opened their volleyball season with a tough match-up against a large Northwest Suburban Conference school.

Anoka was the enemy, and a 1-0 record was the goal.

In the first set, the Wildcats went down early and never recovered. Behind some devastating serving and punishing kills, the Tornadoes blitzed the 'Cats 25-13 in the first set.

Chisago Lakes rebounded in the second set, however, to push the action back to Anoka. The Tornadoes were getting overzealous on their serves, and the Wildcats were making them pay for their mistakes. Lauren Weiler started to hit on her passes and varsity holdovers from last year Rachel Nelson and Courtney Fautsch started to score points in bunches.

The Wildcats held a slim lead as the second set wound down, but Anoka started finding their accurate serves again and before the Wildcats could recover from a few tough bounces, the match was tied at 23. Anoka ran off the next two points to take the second game by the slimmest of margins.

Chisago kept their intensity up even though their backs were against the wall. They took an early lead in the third set, and kept the Tornadoes at a distance for a good chunk of the set.

Again, Nelson and Fautsch, along with some key points scored by Kasie Shoberg, paved the way for the Wildcats' success.

Although it started to look an awful lot like the second set as Anoka began to trim the lead, the Wildcats were able to finish this set off with a score of 27-25.

The catalyst for their late surge was a monster block by Nelson. Anoka's big hitter, Emily Buyse, went up for what looked like an easy spike and point for the Tornadoes, but Nelson got a hand in the way at the last second and put it to the floor on Anoka's side.

Momentum seemed to be on Chisago Lakes' side going into the fourth set, but they couldn't string together more than a few points here and there. Anoka capitalized by earning a fairly quick 25-15 win in the set, and a 3-1 win overall.

"We played pretty well," Head Coach Katie Larson remarked after the loss. "I hate to lose, but I am happy with how we played. Anoka is a good team."

Larson said she was happy with the way Weiler, the 'Cats new setter, distributed the ball to the big hitters for Chisago Lakes.

According to Larson, the biggest problem that impeded the Wildcats was their ability to talk to each other on the court. "We just didn't do well communicating with each other, and it's something we'll need to work on."

They'll get a chance to work on it tonight, as they host the Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knights at 7 p.m. at Chisago Lakes High School.


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