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Volleyball: Irish defend home court

Natalie Busher finished with a team-high 23 kills for the Irish.

Rosemount showed some resiliency in its first match of the season last Tuesday.

The Irish, facing a Faribault team that had already played, and won, its first game of the season, fell behind 1-0 and 2-1 in games before rallying for a season-opening 22-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-23, 15-13 victory at Irish Gym.

"We made some adjustments and eliminated some errors," Rosemount coach Smokey Vitek said. "We made a couple of mistakes, but then refocused and finished.... It was a good test of our confidence as a team."

Rosemount faced its biggest threat in Game 4 when a missed serve opened the door for a potential Faribault rally. The Falcons closed within a point late, but a side out and a serving run by Nicole Valentini helped close out the match and forced a Game 5.

The two teams played point-for-point in the deciding game before the Irish took control with a five-point run to go up, 10-5. The stretch featured strong serving and smart play at the net, according to Vitek.

"We (made the run) with aggressive serving and then solid play," she said. "We did not let them get much offense going. Our hitters played very smart, hitting aggressively but also keeping the ball in the court."

Natalie Busher finished with a team-high 23 kills for the Irish. Jaclyn D'Amico added 20 and Katie Duff tacked on 13. Mikaela Sullivan racked up 52 set assists in the five-game match.

"We have many strong hitters, so we can spread our offense," Vitek said. "Also, we have several players that are good in several positions so we can move them around, making it difficult for our opponents."

Five players reached double figures in digs, led by Valentini with 22. Jillian Blanc contributed 18 digs, D'Amico supplied 15 digs, Sullivan 14 and Busher 13.

The Irish used a fast start to improve to 2-0 with a 25-8, 25-21, 25-16 sweep of Farmington Thursday night at Irish Gym.

Busher and Megan Jacobs led Rosemount with nine kills apiece. D'Amico and Katie Duff each supplied eight kills and five other Irish attackers contributed at least one. Sullivan provided 28 set assists.

Valentini once again led the defense with 10 digs. Busher and D'Amico each added eight.

The Irish open South Suburban Conference play next Tuesday when Apple Valley visits Irish Gym.