by Bob Statz
With wins over three conference teams so far, including an exciting, come-from-behind victory over Braham last week, the Mille Lacs Raiders volleyball team will be taking the only undefeated Great River Conference record (3-0) into the final week of September.
The Raiders also defeated non-conference Spectrum High School last week bringing their overall record to 6-1.
It was Onamia High’s homecoming week and also senior’s night last Tuesday evening when the Mille Lacs Raiders hosted the Braham Bombers in a Great River Conference volleyball match.
The Raiders expected one of the most contentious matches of the season to date, and that is just what they got.
Mille Lacs jumped out to a rather easy 25-15 win in set one, but from then on it was anything but easy.
Braham took advantage of four aces on serve and the score was tied at 19-19, then 24-24, 25-25 and 26-26, late in the second game, before Braham, with their best server at the line closed it out to win by two, 28-26.
Game three was equally as close, with the teams tying nine times through the first 11 points, and traded points all the way to the end, when the Bombers won again by two points with a power kill for the winning point.
With their backs to the wall, down two games to one, Onamia found a way to win game four, thanks in part to a powerful performance turned in by Onamia senior Katie Rocholl, who slammed away six points to give her team a 13-6 lead that they rode to the end, sending the match into sudden death.
Onamia came out rolling on all cylinders in the fifth and final game, featuring five power slams from Onamia senior middle hitter, Shayla Nayquonabe, continued fine offensive play by Rocholl with two more timely kills and the set started and ended with power kills from Ashley Strang that put the exclamation point on a gutsy come-from-behind win.
In all, the Raiders had 60 kills compared to 41 by Braham. Mille Lacs was led on offense by 16 kills from Strang, 15 from Naquonabe, 14 by Rocholl and nine from Ashley Rogers.
Braham 15 28 25 20 9
Mille Lacs 25 26 23 25 15
The Mille Lacs Raiders volleyball team was looking for their sixth win in a row when they hosted the non-conference Spectrum Sting to the Onamia gym on Sept. 23.
The Raiders got their sixth straight win with victories in three straight sets.
Down 4-3 in set one, Mille Lacs scored eight straight points, including three aces, off the serve of Ashley Strang, on the way to a 25-12 win.
Down 11-3 in set two, the Raiders tied the score at 14-14, leading to six more ties until, at 20-20, a kill and an ace by Ashley Rogers and a final kill by Shayla Nayquonabe put the game away, 25-22.
Game three was all Mille Lacs, featuring 17 kills and eight straight points off the serve of Rogers.
In all, Mille Lacs hitters recorded 36 kills, led by 11 from Strang, eight from Nayquonabe, seven from Katie Rocholl and four by Rogers. Panther servers also recorded 14 aces. The Sting had 20 total kills and four aces.
Spectrum 12 22 14
Mille Lacs 25 25 25