September 23, 2010 at 10:06 a.m.

'Cats smoke SF for fourth win

'Cats smoke SF for fourth win
'Cats smoke SF for fourth win

When dealing with St. Francis, everything starts with limiting their big hitting sophomore, Maggie Ewen.

For Chisago Lakes, they simply needed to get their hitters going, and take Ewen out of the game early. Chisago executed that game plan exactly how they wanted and came away with a fairly easy sweep of the 7-7 St. Francis Saints earlier this week.

Behind some deft serving from Chisago Lakes, they quickly took an 11-5 lead in the first set, forcing St. Francis into an early timeout.

However, the break didn't do anything to stop the Wildcats momentum. Zoe Hansen kept the pressure on with some huge kills from her outside hitter spot, and before the Saints could blink, they were down 18-10 and on the brink already.

At 24-17, though, St. Francis went on a mini run on game point that included a serve that seem to hang on the net for about three seconds to make the score 24-21. Things looked to be getting a bit dicey for the 'Cats until Hansen swooped in with another big kill to seal the first set for CL.

In the second set, Hansen and Lindsay Peulen set the early tone with their precision serving. The pair combined to put CL ahead 10-1 early. Despite some hiccups in their serving after that pair, CHisago Lakes never really looked back in the second set, going up 17-8, 20-11 and eventually finishing the match off at 25-12 on a Melissa Nelson serve.

The third set put a little scare into the Wildcats. Despite being up 2-0 in sets, Ewen started to get going and working the Chisago Lakes defense. St. Francis jumped out to an early 8-4 lead, and the Wildcats looked like they might miss out on a sweep.

But, senior Rachel Swanson stepped her game up a level and put the 'Cats on her shoulders for the rest of the set. She cut the lead to 10-11 on a terrific spike, setting up some spectacular serving by Nelson. With a 20-17 lead, Swanson completely took over. She made it 21-17 with a touch of grace when she tipped a ball just over the outstretched hands of two St. Francis blockers, and then made it 22-17 on a brilliant block that forced a St. Francis timeout.

After one more point, fittingly, Swanson finished the set, and the game, off with a thundering kill that sent the Wildcats into a celebration and the Saints back to their bus, dejected with a 3-0 sweep.


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