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Volleyball: Keeping pace with leaders

Rosemount's Bri Glaus keeps the ball off the floor during a recent Irish victory.

The Rosemount volleyball team overcame a slow start to extend its unbeaten streak to 10 matches with a 3-1 victory over Burnsville in front of a big Jam the Gym Homecoming crowd last Thursday at Irish Gym.

The Irish kept pace with South Suburban Conference unbeatens Eagan, Prior Lake and Lakeville North as they improved to 15-4-1 overall and 4-1 in the league with their seventh straight victory.

Burnsville has been a team we should have matched up well against, but we never seem to play well against them,” Rosemount coach Smokey Vitek said. “We knew that if we wanted to finish in the top half of the conference we needed to play well and beat Burnsville.”

The Irish lost Game 1 22-25 before rallying to even things up with a 25-20 win in Game 2.

“We played okay in Game 1 but made some unforced errors and struggled to really get into a rhythm,” Vitek said. “The team responded well by making some key adjustments on the court and eliminating the errors. As set two continued we fell into a better rhythm and executed much more consistently.”

The team continued to click in Game, 3 winning 25-21, and finished off the night by pulling away 25-13 in Game 4.

“For our team this was such a key win and to fight our way to a victory after losing the first set is really terrific,” Vitek said.

The Irish offense was once again consistent, connecting for 52 kills on 146 attempts, a 35.6 percent clip. Brittany McLean slammed a team-high 20 kills, while Ellie Vraa supplied nine and Erin Slinde and Sarah Jacobs seven apiece.

Slinde also had 21 assists and 15 digs. Brittany Morrison paced the defense with 21 digs and five service aces.

Justine Buckmister helped control Burnsville’s attack with five blocks.

The Irish opened the week with another four-set win last Tuesday on the road at Apple Valley. They stumbled in a 19-25 loss in Game 3, but won the other three games handily by scores of 25-15, 25-7 and 25-12.

“We knew we had to be consistent on our side of the net and control the match. We did that very well. We passed well, enabling us to effectively run our offense and keep Apple Valley on the defensive,” Vitek said. “We did a nice job of effectively running our base offense when we needed to and working on some more advanced sets when we had the opportunity.”

The team once again converted on 35 percent of its kill opportunities. McLean set the pace with 17 kills, Jacobs had nine and Buckmister converted on eight in nine attempts.

Slinde lead the team with 28 assists and Maddie Phyle chipped in with 16. Morrison led the defense with 20 digs.

The Irish hosted Eastview Tuesday and are back in action tonight on the road at fourth-ranked (Class 3A) Lakeville North.