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Volleyball: Depleted Irish knocked out by Blaze

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sports Rosemount, 55024
Rosemount Town Pages
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Rosemount Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Rosemount was without Natalie Busher, Meghan Schuster, Jillian Blanc and Laurel Officer when it took the floor for last Wednesday night's Section 3AAA tournament opening round game at Burnsville.

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Those four players -- along with Nicole Valentini, who returned for the section match --missed most of the second half of the season with injuries. The Irish continued to fight in the absence of those key contributors, but ultimately the injuries proved too much to overcome as a 13-15 season came to an end with a 25-19, 15-14, 25-16 loss to the Blaze.

"I thought we had a deep roster this season, but even with that we had injuries to key players and strong leaders. We never really had a stable lineup that allowed us to focus on our team play. It was constantly changing with players going in and out of the lineup or having to change positions," Rosemount coach Smokey Vitek said. "We had moments where we showed we could compete with the best teams in the state.... Injuries really took their toll, but in the end we need to have the confidence and determination to fight through those situations."

Three of the Rosemount players who managed to stay healthy this season ended up among the school's all-time leaders.

Jaclyn D'Amico finished the season with 27 aces, giving her a school-record career total of 74. She also had 270 digs this season, moving her up to second in school history with 580 career digs.

Setter Mikaela Sullivan finished the season with 636 assists, the second best single-season total in school history, giving her a school-record total of 1,257. Sullivan set the record despite missing most of her junior season with a knee injury.

Katie Duff set the new standard for ace serves in a season with 46.

Duff led the Irish with six kills against Burnsville. Erin Slinde had four and D'Amico and Brittany McLean each added three. Sullivan finished with 16 assists.

Vitek said Burnsville grabbed the momentum midway through the first game and her team could never get it back.

"We started to make errors, then Burnsville got the momentum and it was hard to recover. I thought Burnsville played well and really wanted to win," she said. "We struggled to pass which then gave us fewer options on offense.... Overall, we did not play well, so it was a tough way to end the season."

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Matt Steichen
Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.
(651) 460-6606
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