FAIRMONT - Tori Edgington got Fairmont revving out of the starting block on Thursday night, Elizabeth Kim shifted the Cardinals into second gear in Game 2, while Emily Kim and Paige Bearson put the pedal to the floor in the finale.
Siblings Emily Kim and Elizabeth Kim combined for 33 points behind 41-for-42 serving to complement 17 set assists, while Bearson pounded out nine kills to ignite Fairmont's 25-17, 25-13, 25-20 South Central Conference volleyball sweep over the New Ulm Eagles at Cardinal Gym.
"Don't let up on the accelerator just because we won the first two games," Cardinal mentor Brad Haugen instructed his spikers during the changeover between Games 2 and 3. "Put the pedal down and put it away in this game."
HAMMER TIME — Fairmont outside hitter Paige Bearson hammers the match-winning spike off an assist from setter Emily Kim (left) during South Central Conference volleyball action Thursday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Nicole Fedder (19) looks on. Photo by Leanna Becker
Ironically, libero Briana Sieve literally served as the Eagles' catalyst in Game 3, staking the visitors on the scoreboard to an early 7-4 edge. Fairmont middle hitter Kersten Shantz, however, drilled home a New Ulm overpass to halt Sieve's five-point service stint before back-to-back kills by teammates Kristen Campe and Bearson reversed the match's momentum for good.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, their seventh of 10 service errors proved costly at 9-8 as Emily Kim rotated to the back line and reeled off 12 unanswered points to shift the Cardinals into cruise control. Bearson jackhammered four kills during the double-figure offensive avalanche, with Edgington and Kayla Lardy contributing an ace tip and a block, respectively.
Clinging to a 24-20 lead on the heels of two-point service runs each by New Ulm's Bree Friedman and Sieve, Bearson put the match in the books with a scorching ace kill to the baseline off an assist from Emily Kim.
"Our set distribution was much better during Games 2 and 3, and Emily Kim really hurt them with her drop dump (tips)," said Haugen.
Edgington, however, opened Game 1 with an incredible 8-0 service run, with Shantz contributing a block and a kill to highlight the Fairmont's quick start.
Elizabeth Kim rotated to the service line on the heels of Campe's sideout kill and generated four more points to establish a commanding 13-2 lead for the hometown lineup.
Sieve reeled off five straight points from the back line to whittle the Eagles' deficit to 22-14 in the opener, but Edgington's back-row attack slammed the brakes on New Ulm's late run.
Ironically, the visitors unleashed a long serve that Fairmont libero Brooke Wubbena alertly watched sail over the end line for Point 25.
Campe's cross-court kill off an Emily Kim loft proved pivotal in Game 2 as the sideout allowed Elizabeth Kim to enter the lineup. With Shantz blocking and Emily Kim hitting, Elizabeth Kim delivered a four-point service surge to seize the early momentum.
Bearson later cranked a perfect down-the-line ace kill to send Emily Kim to the service area, and the Cardinal sophomore assembled an eight-point outburst to create a commanding 18-7 edge.
Shantz, Campe and Bearson triggered Fairmont's offensive spurt down the stretch as Campe served out the winning point in Game 2.
Emily Kim generated 20 points on 22 of 23 serving for the Cardinals to complement seven set assists and six kills, while Elizabeth Kim distributed 10 assists and tallied 13 points behind 19-for-19 serving.
Fairmont (1-2, 1-0 SCC) opens the Visitation Invitational today against St. Paul Johnson at 4:15 p.m. before facing Simley at 6:45 p.m.
New Ulm posted a 25-18, 25-19 victory over Fairmont during B-squad action Thursday in Fairmont.
Morgan Seifried served 8 of 8 and distributed five set assists for the Cardinals, while Aly Eversman connected on 6 of 6 serves.
Tieryn Arens delivered two ace serves, two blocks and three kills for Fairmont, while Courtney Mosloski chipped in two kills.
Martin County West 3, Alden-Conger 0 - Libbie Lange pounded out a match-best 11 kills to pace a balanced attack as the Mavericks swept the Knights, 25-23, 25-23, 25-15, during Valley Conference action Thursday night in Trimont.
Kate Thiesse delivered eight kills and 10 digs for MCW, Taryn Tumbleson produced seven kills and seven digs, Jordan Gregory drilled seven kills, while Hailey Leiding supplied six spike-winners.
Morgan Williamson distributed 20 set assists for the Mavericks, Kennedy Janssen dished out 15 set assists, while Jackie Schliesmann made 11 digs. Bailey Tish tacked on three kills, while Autumn Smith made four digs.
Martin County West (2-0, 1-0 Valley) competes in the Mankato West Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Blue Earth Area 3, St. James 1 - Krista Hassing unleashed a match-leading 22 kills to go with five ace blocks to engineer the Bucs' 25-23, 22-25, 25-14, 25-18 South Central Conference triumph over the Saints on Thursday in Blue Earth.
Monica Krieger tallied six digs, distributed 26 set assists and connected on 26 of 27 serves en route to 17 points, including five aces, for Blue Earth Area.
Audrey McDonald generated 10 points, including a pair of aces, behind 18-for-19 serving to complement nine digs for the Bucs, while Janessa Jahnke delivered six kills and two ace blocks.
Whitney Pirsig contributed seven digs and two ace blocks for Blue Earth Area (2-1, 1-0 SCC), which competes in the Luverne Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Martin Luther/GHEC 3, St. Clair 0 - Amber Schulz hammered out nine kills to pace the Knights' 25-18, 25-19, 25-20 Valley Conference sweep over the Cyclones on Thursday night in St. Clair.
Hunter Payne doled out 12 set assists and pocketed seven digs for ML/GHEC, Miranda Quinn supplied nine digs and four service aces, while Effie Bentz added 10 digs.
Martin Luther/GHEC (1-3) competes in the Sleepy Eye Public Tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Maple River 3, Truman 0 - The Eagles netted a 25-16, 25-20, 25-15 Valley Conference sweep over the Bluejays on Thursday night in Truman.
Emily Zaharia produced nine digs, six kills and six ace blocks for Truman, while teammate Alexis Jahnz supplied 10 digs, five kills and two ace serves.
Hanna Hartman and Savannah Stevens each spiked out five kills, with Stevens making 10 digs for the Bluejays.
Cheyanne Hodge dished out six set assists to complement 10 digs and four service aces for the Bluejays.
Truman (0-3, 0-1 Valley) plays in the Sleepy Eye Public Tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday.