The girls travelled to Strasburg, ND on Oct. 23 — the hometown of Lawrence Welk — to take on the Strasburg/Zeeland Clippers, and sadly, they came up short and lost in a hard-fought contest that went four sets: 21 to 25, 25 to 19, 19 to 25, and 24 to 26. There is no doubt they had some outstanding moments, like Cassidy Goebel having the most kills in the first set, Jenna Robbennolt hammering the ball hard in the second set, Rachel Goebel intimidating the opponent’s frontline in the third set, and Kirstie Lake getting 8 digs in the final set. However, what put them in a poor position was giving the Clippers way too many easy returns to drill back across the net.
The first set was a surprise because the Battlers got down 12 to 21 when it seemed like a light switch was turned on because they closed to 21 to 24 before the Clippers finally managed to get the winning point. In the second set, this one clearly belonged to the red and white because at one point the Battlers had a lead of 24 to 16.
In the third set, the Clippers got out to an early lead of 7 to 2, and when they got cocky the girls rallied to tie up the game. Following a timeout when the score became tied at 11 points apiece, the Battlers unfortunately seemed to put their play into coast mode because soon it was 11 to 19, and then getting the final 6 points was not that difficult for the Clippers.
The final set was a Barn Burner because six Battlers – Autumn Pitlick, Cassidy Goebel, Makaivry Schatz, KiTu LeBeau, Rachel Goebel, and of course, Jenna Robbennolt – all got kills. Defensively Haylie Ahlemeier, Autumn Pitlick, Cassidy Goebel, Makaivry Schatz, KiTu LeBeau, Grace Goebel, Kirstie Lake, and again, Jenna Robbennolt all recorded digs. When the Battlers and Clippers became tied at 24, the Strasburg gymnasium was a rocking and a rolling, and it felt like the place was literally shaking. When the Clippers got the very next point, the place hit an even higher decibel. To the Battlers misfortune when the Clippers got the next point after that too to win the match, one could swear they heard Lawrence Welk pop his cheek with his finger and the champagne bubbles flow.
The girls had nothing to hang their heads about, but another loss was not the outcome that they hoped for or wanted to take home. With this season now at the start of its sunset, desperation to win is even more intensified, and if any team ever needed a blessing to exit gracefully this one does. They have worked hard and sacrificed much, so asking for a little more sunshine from the faithful would sure go a long way for these girls to close out their season.
On a brighter note both the JV and C Team girls won their perspective matches. The JV Team won in three sets: 22 to 25, 25 to 21, and 15 to 11. Not surprisingly, Makenna Miller would have been the MVP for this match – 5 kills, 3 aces, and 14 digs. Runner up would have been Aaliyah Canchola with 6 kills, and Honorable Mention would definitely go to Kirstie Lake with 8 digs, 1 ace, 10 digs, and 1 block. The C Team won in two straight sets: 25 to 15 and 25 to 18. Megan Hermann and Csenge Armai both had stellar games, but Tyler Simon and Rylee Kaup had outstanding games to cruise to a win.
Varsity Game Stats – Serving: 85 of 90 / 11 Aces: Leaders: Autumn Pitlick – 5 Aces, Cassidy Goebel – 2 Aces, KiTu LeBeau – 1 Ace; Attacks: 142 of 159 / 34 Kills: Leaders: Jenna Robbennolt – 9 Kills, Makaivry Schatz – 8 Kills, KiTu LeBeau – 6 Kills; Setting: 130 of 131 / 26 Assists: Leaders: Cassidy Goebel – 26 Assists; Blocks: 0 Blocks 8 Block Assist: Leaders: Jenna Robbennolt – 4 Block Assists, Rachel Goebel – 4 Block Assists; Digs: 53: Leaders: Autumn Pitlick – 16 Digs, KiTu LeBeau – 9 Digs, Makaivry Schatz – 9 Digs.