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Volleyball: Irish looking for more consistency

Last Tuesday the Rosemount volleyball team received votes in the Associated Press’s Class 3A rankings for the first time in a while.

The Irish promptly swept Class 2A power Hutchinson on Thursday, improving their record to 4-0. Then the weekend came and the team was given a reminder it still has some things to work on while playing to a 2-2 record at the Aerie Challenge in Apple Valley.

“Overall, we did not play well the entire weekend. We had a lack of intensity and communication on the court,” Rosemount coach Smokey Vitek said. “I think it was a good mental check for us to realize that we need to come ready to play every match, focused on execution.”

The Irish opened the tournament by defeating Concordia Academy 25-19, 25-21 on Friday night.

“We won, but we made it much more difficult than it should have been,” Vitek said.

Brittany McLean led the Irish with 10 kills and Sarah Jacobs had seven. Madie Phyle provided 17 assists and Erin Slinde added 12.

The Irish followed that up with what Vitek called their “best match of the tournament” but Minneapolis Southwest won some key points late in Game 1 and pulled away, 25-22, 25-16.

Brittany Morrison led the defense with 16 serve receptions and seven digs.

Inconsistency once again plagued the team in a 25-17, 25-23 loss to Cretin-Derham Hall on Saturday.

“We would play well for five points, take the lead and then make five unforced errors to give them the lead back,” Vitek said. “It was definitely a match we should have won.”

Jacobs led the Irish with nine kills. Slinde had 12 assists and Phyle 11.

In the tournament finale, the Irish held on 25-22, 32-30 against a Faribault team they swept in their second match of the season.

McLean reached double figures in kills with 10. Slinde added eight digs and 16 assists and Morrison led the defense with 17 serve receptions.

The Irish closed out a four-game homestand to start the season by sweeping Hutchinson in convincing fashion, 25-8, 25-20, 25-12 last Thursday at Irish Gym.

“They beat us last year, so we were pretty focused on some revenge and establishing ourselves as a team to be feared,” Vitek said. “We came out strong and did not let up. I think Hutch was a little bit stunned in Game 1.”

McLean led an efficient group of attackers with 10 kills in 21 tries. Jacobs and Justine Buckmister added six kills apiece and the Irish converted on 31 of their 76 kill tries while making just six errors.

Slinde set them up with 19 assists and Phyle tacked on 11.

Morrison led the team with 10 digs and 16 serve receptions.

The Irish (6-2) were on the road again Tuesday night at Roseville and open up the South Suburban Conference season tonight at home against Eagan.