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Volleyball: Irish edge South, sweep Kennedy

Brittany McLean bumps the ball during last Thursday’s 3-0 sweep of Kennedy.

A rally late in Game 1 of last Tuesday’s match against Lakeville South set the tone for a strong week of play for the Rosemount volleyball team.

The Irish started slow against the Cougars and trailed 22-24 before Erin Slinde slammed a kill and reeled off three straight service points to earn the visitors a 26-24 decision in Game 1. Rosemount eked out two more close matches to secure a 3-1 victory over the Cougars, and then moved to 2-1 in the South Suburban Conference with a 3-0 sweep of Bloomington Kennedy last Thursday at Irish Gym.

“Lakeville South was a key match for us. They are a team we have struggled to beat in the past,” Rosemount coach Smokey Vitek said. “We were inconsistent but managed to battle back several times during the match, which was great to see.”

South picked up its lone win in Game 2 when it jumped out to a 22-13 lead and had to hold on 25-23. Game 3 went to 24-24 before kills by Slinde and Brittany McLean finished it off for Rosemount.

The Irish then closed out the victory with a 25-22 win in Game 4.

McLean led the team with a game-high 23 kills. Slinde and Sarah Jacobs added eight apiece and Justine Buckmister tallied six kills to go along with five blocks.

Brittany Morrison supplied four of the Irish’s eight ace serves, received 36 serves and led the team with 22 digs. Slinde and Madie Phyle chipped in defensively with 14 digs apiece.

Phyle (26 assists) and Slinde (24 assists) once again split setting duties.

The Irish continued to play well on Thursday and took care of business against Kennedy, sweeping the Eagles 25-5, 25-10 and 25-14.

“Kennedy was a test of our discipline. It would have been easy to go into that match overconfident or unfocused, but I thought we did a good job focusing on our side of the court, minimizing our mistakes and working on our offense,” Vitek said.

Seven Rosemount players had at least four kills, led by Katie Kalinowski with eight and Bri Glaus with seven.

Slinde piled up 26 assists and slammed four ace serves and Morrison led the defense with 10 digs and nine serve receptions.

The Irish (14-4) traveled to Apple Valley on Tuesday and are back home tonight against Burnsville.