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Chris Murphy, Published September 03 2013

Vancura's 13 kills and 10 aces lead Barnesville sweep over Park Christian

MOORHEAD – Barnesville volleyball coach Megan Askegaard has a pretty good rule for when outside hitter Holly Vancura winds up to smash a volleyball.

Hide.

“She hits them at me all the time,” Askegaard said. “We’re always dodging balls from Holly. Everyone is. We always have to know where she’s at and when she’s coming in swinging, because she shoots rockets.”

Vancura’s first three rockets in Tuesday’s Minnesota volleyball match against Moorhead Park Christian found the net. Vancura has a pretty good rule to fix that.

“Just keep swinging,” Vancura said. “I had to keep trying different spots, and it worked.”

Vancura’s 13 kills and 10 aces led the Trojans to a 25-17, 25-10, 25-15 sweep of the Falcons on Tuesday at Park Christian.

“She’s been starting for us ever since she was an eighth-grader,” Askegaard said. “She puts a lot of time in the gym. Volleyball has always been her game. She’s an all-around team player and plays anywhere for us. She just knows the game.”

The win puts the Trojans at 2-0 on the season, but there’s a big monkey on the Trojans’ back. They haven’t been to state since 1983 and fell one win short last season, falling in the section title match to finish with a 28-3 record.

To add to the weight on their shoulders, the Trojans moved up a class this season, so beating Class 1A schools Ada-Borup and Park Christian to start the season really doesn’t do much for the Trojans in the long run.

“Obviously, our goal when we start is to make it to state,” Askegaard said. “We moved up to (Class 2A) this year, so it’s a little tougher competition for us being a smaller school. We know the level of play though. Thursday we are home against (Class 2A Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton), so that will be a good test to see where we’re at.”

The first set between Park Christian and Barnesville started off tied 6-6, but three aces and two kills from Vancura and four aces from Taylor Peterson sparked a 15-3 run to put the Trojans up 22-9. The Falcons came back to make it 23-16, but it wasn’t enough.

“We can be really good, but we can be really bad at the same time,” Vancura said. “It comes back to passing almost every time.”

Barnesville opened the second set with a 23-4 run behind seven aces and a kill from Vancura and the Trojans never looked back. The third set was back and forth, with Park Christian sporting a 10-9 lead before Vancura’s three kills and one block during a 16-5 run shut the door on the set and the match.

“She rises so high above the net. She’s tough,” second-year Park Christian coach Julie Faul said. “That’s where this game is played. If you can’t play above the net, you’re going to have a hard time scoring points, and she can do that effortlessly.”

Park Christian won just six games last season against teams that combined for a 31-105-4 record. The Falcons (1-1) used Tuesday as a learning experience.

“The biggest thing is we have to battle,” Faul said. “We’re just going to keep it competitive. Barnesville is an excellent team, and they flat out beat us. We used it to learn some things.”

B (kills-blocks-aces): Vancura 13-1-10, Skogen 5-0-1, Peterson 1-1-4, Hustad 1-0-3 (21 assists), Stangeland 2-1-0, Cossette 0-0-2 (five digs), Solum 1-1-0 (four digs), Grosz 1-0-0, Boom 1-0-0.

P: Jorgensen 3-2-0, Jackson 0-0-3, Thimjon 1-0-0, Schwanke 1-0-0, Nepstad 1-0-0, Nellermoe 1-0-0, Larson 0-0-0 (15 digs), Schultz 0-0-0 (27 assists).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548