Volleyball: A perfect startThe Irish are 5-0 after a win over New Prague
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
The Rosemount volleyball team wrapped up a 5-0 start to the season in non-conference play with a 3-1 win at home Monday against New Prague.
The Irish have overcome their first-game jitters, earning a 3-2 win at Faribault on Aug. 30. After four road games to open the season, Rosemount earned a win in its first home game on Monday, getting the first home-game nervousness out of the way.
Along the way, four road games and five non-conference games allowed the Irish to work through any potential struggles, and they did it by winning each step of the way.
“I think we’re kind of settling into our own game where we realize where we’re strong and what we need to work on,” Rosemount coach Smokey Vitek said. “Last week we had two away matches and we played well in both of them against Farmington and Hastings. We had our home opener with New Prague and they gave us a good first home match. We were a little nervous and didn’t play as well as we had been playing. But we got it out of the way, and with a win.”
Now comes the tough part for the Irish.
Rosemount begins play in the South Suburban Conference tonight with a home game against No. 1 ranked Lakeville North. In this week’s rankings, five South Suburban Conference teams are in the top 10 in Class 3A led by this week’s opponent, the Panthers. Eagan is also receiving votes, essentially giving the SSC six teams in the top 14 in the state. Those rankings don’t even include the 5-0 Irish, who hope to sneak up on Lakeville North.
“It’s not only our conference opener, but it’s the No. 1 team in the state,” Vitek said. “In seven matches no one has even been close to taking a game off of them. I think we have the element of surprise. No one expects us to play as well. We’ll be the underdogs and hopefully battle them strong. It would be a huge upset. It would be fun.
“It’s going to be really fun and exciting competition the next few weeks.”
Rosemount got to this point with 3-0 victories against Farmington and Hastings last week. It was a 25-16, 25-20, 26-28, and 25-13 win at home Monday against New Prague.
Vitek and the Irish are not taking their 5-0 start lightly. They know steps have been taken.
“I think we’re really pleased because in the past we haven’t pulled out some of these wins that we should be pulling out,” Vitek said. “This year we have and a lot of it is our seniors, the way they’ve been leading in a very positive way in practice and on the court playing well. I couldn’t ask more of my seniors. When you have those strong seniors, the rest of the team follows along.”
Against New Prague, setter Mikaela Sullivan distributed an even attack with 40 assists. Jaclyn D’Amico had 12 kills. Natalie Busher had 11 kills and Zoe Peterson had 10 kills. Elaine Warner finished with nine kills and five blocks.
Sullivan had 12 digs, while D’Amico and Nicole Valentini each had 13 digs.
Peterson had four digs and three blocks, while Busher added two blocks.
After winning the first two games, Rosemount trailed 20-9 in the third game. The Irish rallied to close the gap before pulling away easily in game four.
“We came out flat in the third game and that was a good lesson for us,” Vitek said. “It’s a good lesson that we have to finish out the match. We came flying back and just missed taking the third game. They scored eight points while we scored 17. Then we responded really well in the fourth game. It was a good lesson for us.”
Warner and Busher each had 10 kills in the 25-22, 25-15, 25-13 win against Hastings last week. Ali Fromme had 11 kills and 14 digs.
Sullivan had 44 assists in a 26-24, 25-21, 26-24 win against Farmington last week. Peterson had 15 kills and nine digs.