Gobblers split pair of matches

The Aitkin Gobbler volleyball team split a pair of matches last week, with the junior varsity squad stepping up with the majority of the varsity in quarantine due to COVID-19.

Aitkin lost to Nevis at home Nov. 2, 25-16, 25-13, 25-9, then downed Isle Nov. 5, 25-15, 25-19, 25-21.

“It was a total team effort,” said coach Julie Asmus about the win over Isle. “Everyone was positive and upbeat the whole match.”

Against Nevis, Asmus said the team played hard but the Tigers prevailed.

Set one saw the two teams going back and forth. Aitkin led 4-2 on a block by Lauren Ratz, but Nevis then went on a run, pushing the score to 11-6 and then 17-7 before a Gobbler timeout.

The two teams traded points and the Tigers brought it to set point. After a furious rally, Addie Lindow produced the kill for Nevis that ended it 25-16.

That turned out to be the closest set, as Nevis took off for a 9-0 lead in the second set and went on to a 25-13 victory.

Lindow served up all of those early nine points and the Tigers never looked back. The third set was all Tigers rolling to a 25-9 victory to end the night.

“Our kids played really hard, they really did,” Asmus said. “It’s tough playing up and taking on kids that are two and sometimes three years older and much more experienced so I couldn’t be disappointed.”

Ratz had five kills to lead the Gobblers with Melaina Ryan adding four. Madi Hamilton had 18 set assists, Anna Carlson had 19 digs, while Taryn Olson had nine and Ratz had eight.  

The Gobblers had a much better time Nov. 5, as they swept the Huskies in three straight sets.

“The girls played hard,” said Asmus, praising the hitting of Ratz and Kenzie Hamilton, as well as the defensive play of Anna Carlson.

Ally Ehnstrom, back from a week off, made the 7-point club, 7 scoring points in a row from the service line. Her return showed up in other stats as well, as she recorded 19 assists and three aces.

 Ratz had eight kills while Kenzie Hamilton had six and Melaina Ryan and Savannah Parenteau each had four. Carlson had a total of 20 digs and Ratz had seven.

The Gobblers are on the road Thursday to play Pequot Lakes. Asmus said she hopes to have the varsity squad back for this match.

McGregor falls to Barnum, Wrenshall

The McGregor Mercs volleyball team continued to struggle in two matches last week, losing to Barnum on Nov. 2 at home and then dropping a Nov. 4 match at Wrenshall.

The scores against Barnum were 25-15, 25-9, 25-7, while the scores against Wrenshall were 25-15, 25-9, 25-6.

McGregor coach Becky Hagen said that the team tried a few new things to shake it up this past week, but that it’ll take time for the players to get used to it.

“We tried a new starting rotation and it threw us off,” Hagen said. “I thought it would be a stronger fit on the court, but it created a bit more confusion as the girls were not accustomed to playing next to one another.

“Communication played a large role in the two matches last week,” the coach added.

Against Barnum, Haylee Kellermann had nine set assists while Jordan Paquette had five kills and Courtney Gauthier had four kills.

The Mercs host Silver Bay Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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