EVELETH — The Chisholm volleyball team came closer to putting together a complete game Monday night as they swept their way past Eveleth-Gilbert 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-7).
While some early miscues and errors let the Golden Bears hang around throughout the first set, the Bluestreaks quickly recovered by the end of the frame and carried that momentum through sets two and three for their second win over the Bears this season.
The Bluestreaks started on a quick 5-0 run to open the contest with a pair of kills coming from Emma DuChamp and one more added by Abby Thompson.
The Bears quickly answered back with a kill and an ace from Brooke Thyen as well as a kill and a tip point from Emily Kemp, making it 5-4 Chisholm.
A Thompson kill gave the ‘Streaks a two-point lead but the Bears tied it up on a Chisholm error and an ace from Kemp.
The ‘Streaks lead continued to fluctuate with Chisholm going up by as much as four while the Bears battled back to cut it down to one or two. Through 29 points, Chisholm lead 15-14, the two teams seemingly locked in a tight battle.
A pair of Eveleth-Gilbert errors, a kill from Thompson and an ace from DuChamp swung things in Chisholm’s favor, forcing the Bears to take a timeout.
The break didn’t do E-G any good, however as Chisholm took six of the last eight points to win the opening game, 25-16.
Again, the two teams were close as they started out the second set. Thompson put down a kill and was answered by one from Eveleth-Gilbert’s Afton Roberts. Eveleth-Gilbert grabbed their first lead of the game tied at 7-7 before a favorable tip put them up by one. However, things started tilting back in favor of Chisholm at that point.
Capitalizing on some E-G errors, the ‘Streaks slowly began to build up a lead. Then, the arm of left side hitter Lola Huhta came alive as she began to find the right gaps in the Bears defense to aid the Chisholm cause.
A Huhta kill put Chisholm up 15-9, forcing the Bears to take a timeout.
Out of the break, the ‘Streaks continued to stay in form with Huhta and Thompson adding more kills to their stat line. Leading 24-12, Chisholm put the second set away thanks to an ace serve from DuChamp, putting her squad up 2-0 heading into the third set.
The third set was a Chisholm’s best showing of the entire evening. Starting things off on a 7-1 run, the ‘Streaks never let Eveleth-Gilbert find their footing.
The Bears attempted to shut down Thompson in the middle, but the lengthy hitter was able to hit from anywhere on the court. When Thompson wasn’t an option, Chisholm setter Jordan Temple could dish the ball out to the sophomore Huhta on the left side.
The match quickly started slipping away from E-G. Trailing 16-6, Chisholm rallied to take the last nine points of the contest, wrapping up the third set 25-7 to take the match 3-0.
Thompson led the team in kills and digs with 13 apiece. Temple tallied 31 set assists and 11 digs. Huhta added seven kills and eight digs. DuChamp finished with six kills.
After her team’s 3-2 win over Virginia last week, Chisholm head coach Pam Pioske noted the importance of starting out strong and putting out a complete game from start to finish. While Pioske said her squad wasn’t totally ready in the beginning, they were quickly able to figure things out and never look back.
“The girls felt like they were ready before the game but we did start slow with some hitting errors and bad passes in the first game,” Pioske said. “We were able to get it together by the end of the first game and we really kept it going in games two and three. So I don’t know if we were completely ready tonight but once we found our momentum we kept it.”
Trying to avoid Eveleth-Gilbert’s strong middle block on Thompson, Pioske had her star hitter work more on the side this time around, while also making sure Huhta was heavily involved in the offense as well.
“Eveleth was still getting a lot of touches on Abby but we made an effort to set her up more on the side to get around their middle blocker. Lola, I think, played a really big role for us on the left side tonight. I think she’s been struggling the last couple of games and that might have a lot to do with her age. Sometimes she gets in her head and isn’t able to get past those mistakes, but she’s learning how to ignore those and look ahead to the next point.
“I think she was on top of that tonight and she was playing smart, whether it was swinging at the ball or just going for tips. She was reading the floor tonight and tipping it into open spots on the court and she had some nice swings as well. She hit one in front of the 10-foot line so I Was very happy for her.”
Looking ahead to Hill City on Thursday, Pioske says he wants to see a little more quickness on defense from her squad in the coming days.
“There’s times where we don’t adjust to where the other team’s hitter is sending it. You can read their hand and their arm swing to figure out where they’re going and we have to work on picking that up faster so we’re already in position by the time they hit it.”
Chisholm’s (5-0) Thursday match in Hill City is set for 7 p.m.