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Volleyball: Irish start season undefeated

Senior hitter Shae Buchman (pictured here during a scrimmage) had 10 kills against Bloomington Jefferson. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Junior hitter Jenna Grutzmacher taps the ball over the net during a multi-team scrimmage the Irish hosted. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The Rosemount Irish volleyball team started the season off hot with two wins over teams that were ranked in the Breakdown USA preseason poll, according to head coach Smokey Vitek.

Blaine

The Irish knocked off Blaine at 10th-ranked Hopkins in three straight sets (25-20, 25-29, 25-16) on Saturday, Aug. 26.

"The first match brings with it lots of nerves and usually carries with it lots of errors," Vitek said. "However, we played pretty clean and aggressive volleyball, never really allowing Blaine to their feet underneath them."

Vitek said that senior setter Maddie Mackinac had a great match and her passing allowed the Irish hitters to really be effective.

Junior Kaitlyn McLean led the team with four serving aces out of 13 total. Junior hitter Jenna Grutzmacher had 11 kills, followed by junior Abigail Campbell with eight and senior Shae Buchman with six. Junior libero Mari Hinkle contributed seven digs and Mackinac wracked up an impressive 36 assists.

Bloomington Jefferson

Rosemount carried over their momentum from the Blaine match and once again swept a ranked opponent, this time 12th-ranked Bloomington Jefferson. Like the match against Blaine, none of the sets ended close as Rosemount won 25-12, 25-14, 25-19.

Vitek said going to Jefferson proved to be much more challenging environment than their first match, but that the team handled the adversity well.

"We did a nice job staying focused on playing, not letting the crowd distract from our game," she said. "We also worked hard each point not allowing Jefferson to get on many runs."

Vitek cited Hinkle, Grutzmacher and Buchman as all having strong performances again. Hinkle piled up 18 digs, Grutzmacher combined 16 kills with four service aces and Buchman had 10 kills on just 13 attempts with only a single error.

Rosemount hosted Hastings on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and return to the court Tuesday, Sept. 12, at Prior Lake.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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