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Christian returns to winning ways with sweep of Wilmot

Aberdeen Christian’s Mallory Miller, right, tries to hit the ball past Wilmot’s Paige Johnson, left and Ashlyn Ebben, center, during Thursday night’s match at the Aberdeen Christian School gym. Photo by John Davis taken 10/7/2021

After back-to-back losses for the first time this season, the Aberdeen Christian Knights were in search of a victory Thursday night.

Christian, which had a 12-match winning streak before those recent setbacks, found its way back to the win column with a 25-11, 25-21, 25-7 non-conference volleyball sweep over Wilmot at the Aberdeen Christian School Gym.

“We needed to win tonight. We needed to get back on the positive side of the column,” said Knights coach Maggie Jett. “They played hard, but I was pushing them to play a little cleaner, a little sharper. I think they did that the third set, so I was glad that we finished strong. We need to get our momentum going again.”

Christian dominated the opening set, pulling away from an 8-7 lead by outscoring the visitors 17-4 the rest of the set.

“We just kind of knew that we needed a win, just to keep our confidence up,” said Christian senior Joy Rohrbach.

The second set was tight the entire way. The Wolves found an open spot behind Christian’s front row and did some damage with some soft-kill tips.

“We’ve been working on that in practice,” Rohrbach said, “but we have to figure that out.”

Wilmot led 15-10 before the Knights battled back and eventually grabbed the lead on four straight points with Rohrbach at the service line to take control.

Christian then dominated the third set to win for the 14th time this season.

Hanna Miller led the victory with 17 kills, while Mary Fites contributed 12 kills and three aces.

Rohrbach was once again in double-figure digs from her Libero position. Earlier this season she recorded her 2,000th career dig.

“I just kind of watch their shoulder to see where they hit it,” Rohrbach said of her defensive strategy.

Christian was coming off two losses to traditional Class B powers Faulkton and Northwestern. Jett was pleased with the way her team bounced back against Wilmot.

“I thought we played some pretty clean ball for most of it, just getting that momentum again,” Jett said. “We’re 14-3 and I’m not mad about that. Those two (losses) were tough.”

The Knights were rated as high as third this season in the Class B poll. Rohrbach said the team doesn’t focus too much on that.

“Sometimes we talk about it,” Rohrbach said, “but we try not to think about it so we can just play our ball game and stay humble.”

The Knights will play their third match in four days when they travel to Huron to face James Valley Christian tonight before hosting Britton-Hecla on Tuesday, which means four games in eight days.

“I’m looking forward to it though. Everybody likes games more than practice, I think,” Jett said. “Hopefully, we can just get back to that positive momentum.”

Serving: Wilmot 34-38 2 aces (Kayla Hamman 8-9 1 ace, Paige Johnson 7-8 1 ace); Aberdeen Christian 66-71 9 aces (Mary Fites 20-20 3 aces, Kaylee Block 9-10 3 aces).

Hitting: Wilmot 29-34 14 kills (Marissa Getzlaff 16-17 8 kills, Ashlyn Ebben 6-9 3 kills); Aberdeen Christian 78-87 48 kills (Hanna Miller 23-27 17 kills, Fites 25-27 12 kills).

Setting: Aberdeen Christian (Block 69-73 32 assists).

Digs: Wilmot 22 (Ebben 6, Johnson 6); Aberdeen Christian 44 (H. Miller 11, Joy Rohrbach 10).

Blocks: Wilmot (Ebben 1 solo); Aberdeen Christian 6 assists (Mallory Miller 2).

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