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Pat Miller / Forum Communications Co., Published November 08 2012

Underwood falls in opener of Minnesota Class 1A state volleyball tournament

ST. PAUL – The dreams of a Minnesota Class 1A state volleyball championship for Underwood were dashed Thursday as the Rockets dropped their state tournament opener 25-20, 25-11,

25-17 to Southwest Christian at the Xcel Energy Center.

The consolation title, however, remains within Underwood’s grasp ,and the Rockets will begin their quest for that crown at 3 p.m. today when it faces North Woods of Cook.

During Thursday’s state quarterfinals, Southwest Christian won the majority of the extended points – especially in the first set – and carried that momentum through the match.

“We were doing pretty well offensively, but we couldn’t score points,” said Underwood coach Diane Ross. “At times, we let Southwest score some easy points and we had to work for all of ours. And we let Southwest get too far ahead.”

The trend began early as Southwest found a way to keep the ball in play long enough to generate a scoring chance of its own.

That ability led to a pair of 5-0 runs in the opening set, which gave the Stars a 14-8 advantage and the first-game victory.

“Our attack wasn’t where we needed it to be,” Ross said. “Southwest’s attack was a little more diverse than ours and they made us work. And we weren’t able to give our setter many options with the first (pass).”

The second set was decided early as the Stars opened with a 10-3 lead and coasted to the 25-11 win.

Underwood also spotted Southwest Christian a quick start in the finale. The Stars opened with an 18-8 cushion and Underwood never caught up.

“The kids are disappointed,” Ross said. “We wanted to be a little more competitive but the kids worked hard.”

Carly Masloski paced the Rockets with 14 kills, Kaitlyn Holen added 10 and Brianna Fitzgibbons dished 28 assists.

“At the state tournament, everybody is going to be good,” Ross said. “We have to get over this loss and be ready for (today). I have a feeling that we will.”

U (kills-blocks-aces): Holen 10-1-1, Masloski 14-0-1, Moretnson 1-1-0, Obright 5-0-0, Biegler 3-0-0, Fitzgibbons 1-0-1 (14 digs, 28 assists), Skauge 0-0-0 (14 digs).

SC: Vandergalien 14-1-2, Johnson 0-0-1, Lubben 2-1-1 (44 assists), Palkert 8-4-0, Hiuzenga 3-1-0, Horkey 22-1-1, Larkin 0-0-1, Carlin 0-0-1, Sheets 0-0-1 (17 digs).

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Miller is the Sports Editor of the

Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer