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Northwestern tops Roncalli in volleyball opener

MELLETTE – After splitting the first two sets, Northwestern pulled away from Aberdeen Roncalli to record a non-conference volleyball victory Tuesday night.

The defending State B champion Wildcats earned a 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-16 win.

“For the season opener against a notoriously tough program, I was pleased to see our team show up and compete hard,” said Roncalli coach Mandy Smid. “It is a great way to expose areas we need to tune in the coming practices.”

The hosts won the first set before the Cavaliers squared up the match with a win in the second set. Northwestern then took control and finished off the triumph.

Ella Haven had 15 kills and 13 digs, and Mack Stoltenberg 10 kills and 18 digs to power the Wildcats.

Madelyn Bragg topped Roncalli with a dozen kills. Jeci Ewart had a solid all-around game with six aces, six kills and a block.

“Jeci Ewart’s serves really gave us a spark tonight that we will look to feed off of,” Smid said.

The Cavaliers also had a whopping 138 digs, led by Ella Hanson with 40 and Hayley Schmidt with 34.

“Our backrow defense was able to get good touches on several balls,” Smid said, “and the rest of the team dug in to help us play those out.”

Hanson added seven kills on offense as Roncalli used a variety of options to record 29 team kills.

“Offensively, it’s good to see that we can spread the swings around and not have to place all of the pressure on one or two players,” Smid said.

Roncalli is right back in action on Thursday when the Cavaliers host Deuel in their home opener. The team will be looking to build off its first outing and go from there.

“It’s nice to have the season under way,” Smid said, “and we take this match as a starting point that we only look to go up from.”

Northwestern def. Aberdeen Roncalli 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-16

Serving: Aberdeen Roncalli 59-73 11 aces (Jeci Ewert 12-14 6 aces, Olivia Hanson 2 aces); Northwestern 87-95 5 aces (Emma Grandpre 12-13 3 aces, Teryn Sparling 15-15 2 aces).

Hitting: Aberdeen Roncalli 103-124 29 kills (Madelyn Bragg 33-36 12 kills, Ella Hanson 18-21 7 kills, Ewart 21-29 6 kills); Northwestern 114-121 43 kills (Ella Haven 42-47 15 kills, Mack Stoltenberg 24-26 10 kills, Grandpre 16-17 7 kills).

Setting: Aberdeen Roncalli 121-121 27 assists (O. Hanson 99-99 25 assists); Northwestern 114-116 47 assists (Brooklinn Halvorson 94-96 38 assists).

Digs: Aberdeen Roncalli 138 (E. Hanson 40, Hayley Schmidt 34, Taylor Bennett 26); Northwestern 61 (Stoltenberg 18, Haven 13, Grandpre 10).

Blocks: Aberdeen Roncalli (Bragg 1 solo 1 assist, Ewert 1 assist); Northwestern 2 solos 18 assists (Ashley Haven 6 assists, Haiden Grandpre 1 solo 3 assists, Halvorson 1 solo 2 assists).

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