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Volleyball: Irish fourth at Farmington

The Rosemount volleyball team played "pretty well" throughout Saturday's Farmington Invitational, according to coach Smokey Vitek, but saw where it still had some room for improvement when it faced better competition in the later rounds.

The Irish knocked off New Prague and Class 2A state-ranked Visitation to advance to the final four in the 16-team tournament, and then got swept 25-16, 25-16 by fourth-ranked (Class 3A) Lakeville South and 25-21, 25-22 by Owatonna in finishing fourth.

"We played well, but we need to reduce passing and digging errors in order to better compete with teams like Lakeville South. We could have been smarter about our set selection at key times in the match, but our hitters are taking smart swings," Vitek said. "(Against Owatonna) again we made passing and digging errors that gave the opposing team the advantage. We will be working to clean up our defense."

Natalie Busher led the Irish with five kills against South. Four other players added three kills and Mikaela Sullivan provided 11 set assists. Jaclyn D'Amico led the defense with six digs and Nicole Valentini added five.

Busher had six kills against Owatonna. D'Amico chipped in five kills and a team-high nine digs.

The Irish opened play Saturday morning with a 25-17, 22-25, 15-9 win over New Prague.

Busher and D'Amico each slammed seven kills and Katie Duff tacked on five. D'Amico added nine digs and Cassie Hansen provided 10 set assists and seven digs.

Busher tallied a team-high eight kills and 14 digs in a 25-17, 25-18 sweep of Visitation. D'Amico hit seven kills and eight digs and Sullivan and Hansen combined for 21 set assists.

Bloomington Jefferson 3,

Rosemount 0

Second-ranked Bloomington Jefferson sent the Irish to 0-2 in the South Suburban Conference with a 25-12, 25-21, 25-21 sweep Thursday night in Bloomington.

"We struggled at the start of the match with their offense, but adjusted well and played right with them for most of the match," Vitek said. "As a team we played with much more passion and flow than our Apple Valley Match, so overall it was a very positive step for us."

Busher and D'Amico each supplied seven kills in the loss. D'Amico added a team-high 14 digs and Nicole Valentini had eight.

Apple Valley 3,

Rosemount 0

The Irish opened the conference season with a 20-25, 19-25, 19-25 sweep at the hands of Apple Valley last Tuesday at Irish Gym.

"We did not play poorly, but as a team we could not pull it together," Vitek said. "We had too many errors at critical times in the match."

Busher and Brittany McLean each had seven kills and D'Amico and Megan Jacobs added six each.