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Volleyball: Taking consolation

A Rosemount player digs the ball during a recent home game.

If it were up to the Rosemount volleyball team, the entire season would be comprised of tournament consolation matches.

The Irish won their second consolation championship in as many tournaments this season over the weekend, winning four straight matches Saturday to close out play at the 32-team Midwest Fall Classic Tournament at St. Michael-Albertville High School. Less than a month ago, the Irish lost their first match at the Farmington Invitational before winning three straight to capture the consolation title.

"Hopefully we gained some confidence and grit going into the end of the season," Rosemount coach Smokey Vitek said. "As the tournament progressed, the team became more determined and more confident with their ability to pull out wins."

The Irish opened the tournament Saturday morning with a match that mirrored their South Suburban losses to Burnsville and Eastview during the week -- they played well, but couldn't score the points they needed to close out close games. Stillwater Area advanced in the winners' bracket, 30-28 and 25-21.

"After a long bus ride we played well, leading for the entire first set," Vitek said. "Again we had four opportunities to win the set, but could not. We had two missed serves and two hitting errors that were all opportunities for us to win the first set."

The Irish got back in the win column with a 25-9, 25-8 rout of Souris (Ontario), and then eked out a close one 26-24, 25-11 over Benide-St. Margaret's.

The Irish had another close one go their way against Centennial. After dropping Game 1, 25-23, they evened the match up with a 25-20 win and survived three Centennial match points before winning Game 3, 18-16.

The team once again had to rally in the consolation championship. Moorhead took Game 1, 25-19, but the Irish fought back to take the final two, 25-20 and 15-7.

Vitek credited Kim Correll, Justine Buckmister, Erin Slinde and Haley Zweber for their standout play during the tournament.

The Irish (12-9) close out the regular season with a tournament at Faribault Saturday and a conference home match against Prior Lake Tuesday night.

Burnsville 3, Rosemount 0

The Blaze remained in first place in the conference with a 29-27, 25-14, 25-17 sweep of the Irish last Tuesday in Burnsville.

Sarah Jacobs led the team with six kills. Meghan Schuster added five kills and Buckmister had four blocks.

Eastview 3,Rosemount 0

The Irish slipped to 3-4 in the conference after a 25-21, 25-21, 25-12 loss to Eastview.

Erin Slinde had a strong all-around game, finishing with 11 digs, 10 kills and nine digs. Zweber led the team with 19 digs and Brittany McLean and Ellie Vraa contributed strong play in the front row.