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Chris Murphy, Published September 05 2013

Bemidji sweeps Moorhead for first volleyball win of the season

MOORHEAD – Coming into Thursday’s match with Moorhead, Bemidji’s volleyball team certainly did not look like the team that finished sixth in Minnesota Class 3A last season. The Lumberjacks had lost their first three matches this season without winning a set.

On Thursday, Bemidji looked like the team that won 24 matches a season ago, sweeping Moorhead

25-20, 25-23, 25-21.

For Moorhead, it’s easy to find the problem, but it’s certainly hard to fix it.

“It’s all right between the ears,” Moorhead coach Char Lien said. “It was all mental. It wasn’t anything physical that we are or we’re not doing. I don’t know if Tuesday night had something to do with it. Trying to come back and try too hard. I’m not sure.”

On Tuesday, Moorhead lost to its only other Class 3A match of the year 3-0 to Alexandria. After a win over Class 2A’s Wadena-Deer-Creek to open the season, the Spuds have yet to a win a set against a Class 3A squad in their other two matches.

“It wasn’t just one kid,” Lien said. “It was every single one of them. That’s what’s so disappointing. We didn’t play the way we’re even remotely capable of.”

In the first set, the largest lead through the first 19 points for each team was three when Moorhead was up 13-10. After a side out gave Bemidji a 20-19 lead, Myria Colley had three of her 16 kills and Claire Laakso had one of her five blocks and one of her five kills to shut the door.

“We have to talk the mental stuff through and create situations in practice,” Lien said. “We’ve been trying to have pressure situations in practice, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing. We knew we needed to ramp this up. We haven’t found the right answer yet and we’re going to have to continue to do this because this has been going on since the summer.”

There couldn’t have been more pressure than in Set 2 and Set 3. Moorhead trailed 23-14 in the second set, but used a 7-0 run thanks to three of Alyssa LaFlamme’s 11 kills to get within 23-21 of Bemidji.

Alexa Greendahl made it 24-21, and after a kill from Moorhead’s Kayla Dalquist pulled the Spuds within two, Colley slammed the door for Bemidji with a kill.

“They just haven’t put it all together, and tonight we saw them do that,” Bemidji coach Teresa Colligan said. “We did some lineup changes to try some other things and they just played together and they played as a team. We lost some big guns last year and the girls need to see that they can actually do it.”

Set 3 was another case of Moorhead waiting a little too long to get back in the match. Down 20-10, the Spuds went on a 10-1 run to pull within one at 21-20 behind four kills from LaFlamme, but it wasn’t enough.

After both teams traded points, Emily Falldorf made it 24-21 and fittingly Colley ended the match with her 16th and final kill.

“We need to look at some things, but we don’t have a lot of time because we’re right back at it on Tuesday,” Lien said.

B (kills-blocks-aces): Colley 16-2-1, Chadwick 1-3-1, Colligan 5-0-0, Greendahl 1-2-0 (29 assists), Laakso 5-5-0, Falldorf 5-2-0, Lucken 0-0-0 (19 digs).

M: Lund 0-0-2, Gunkel 0-1-0 (31 assists), Borgen 2-0-2, Johnson 4-1-0, Uglem 5-1-2, Swanson 3-0-0, Carney 1-0-0, Ostlie 5-0-0, Gulseth 0-0-1 (nine digs), LaFlamme 11-3-0, Dalquist 3-1-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548