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Volleyball: Taking them when you can get them

The Lake Conference is annually one of the state's top conference for volleyball.

The Rosemount Irish know all about the history. The Irish posted four wins in the conference last season and it was the first time since 1992 they had tallied more than one.

A quick glance at this season's standings don't offer much of a change. Six conference teams are either ranked in the top 10 or receiving votes in the latest poll.

So when Rosemount swept Bloomington Kennedy, 25-13, 25-23, and 25-11 last week, it was cause for celebration.

"Every single win we can get against our conference is huge," Irish coach Kristin Helgeson said. "For years our conference has had so many ranked teams. It feels good."

But Rosemount has more reasons than that to be happy.

On Monday, the Irish traveled to Park and came home with a hard-fought, five-game victory.

Rosemount beat the Wolfpack 22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, and 15-11.

The five-game victory is further indication of how far the Irish have already come this season.

Rosemount lost a five-game match against Rochester Mayo in the season-opener and that loss might keep coming back as barometer for Helgeson.

Not being able to hold a 2-0 lead against Mayo was disappointing. Now the Irish are learning the things they need to avoid another letdown.

"I think if we played Mayo again we wouldn't give up game three," Helgeson said. "I think we are definitely coming around. We are learning how to win, learning who the ball needs to go to at what point in the game."

The victory against Park shows the growth.

After losing the first game, the Irish came back to win two straight. Even losing the third game, they stayed focused to earn the game-five victory.

"The biggest difference is our setting has been better and our hitters are adjusting better," Helgeson said. "They are learning what to do even when it is not perfect. That's what makes great hitters."

Helgeson also reflected on the Mayo match when discussing the Kennedy victory.

"We played really well in that match," she said. "We didn't falter at all. That's where you wish we could play Rochester Mayo again. We are more steady now. It's just so important that you don't give other teams any hope."

Paige Carter had a team-high 14 kills. Paige Peterson added 12 kills, and Jordan Hinkle had 10 kills.