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Roncalli extends winning streak with sweep over Sisseton

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Jaidyn Feickert, left, reaches to tip the ball as Aberdeen Christian’s Arianna Johnson, right, defends the net during Monday night’s match at the Roncalli High School gym. Feickert had a dozen kills and three aces in a win over Sisseton Thursday night. Photo by John Davis taken 9/18/2023

Aberdeen Roncalli had to fight to stay consistent on Thursday night.

The Cavaliers swept Sisseton 25-16, 25-19, 25-18 in a Northeast Conference volleyball match at Roncalli Gym. It was Roncalli’s ninth consecutive victory.

Roncalli coach Mandy Smid said her team had to find aggressiveness and consistency throughout the match.

“I thought that it was an aggressive match,” Smid said. “I thought that for the most part the first two sets the girls did a nice job of staying consistent and aggressive the whole time.”

Roncalli took set one in convincing fashion, but had to overcome a strong effort from the Redmen in the last two sets. Both teams were tied at six early on in set two before Roncalli went on a 7-1 run to build a 13-7 lead, eventually winning the set.

Roncalli senior Jaidyn Feickert said the team’s serving helped throughout the match.

“I think our team’s serving was actually really aggressive,” Feickert said. “I think our serving makes a difference. It messes up the other side and we keep the chaos on that side, so I think that really helps.”

Smid reiterated that serving is an important part of the team’s success.

“I love a strong-serving team. I think that a lot can be done from the serving line that maybe doesn’t get as much credit all the time,” Smid said. “The tone can really be driven from the service line.”

Smid said the team stayed calm during set two, which allowed the Cavaliers to pull away from the Redmen.

“I think that this group, in general, doesn’t really seem to get too riled or worked up about being down a few points,” Smid said. “It gives them a chance to step back and figure out ‘Ok we need to get our feet set back underneath us, we need to pull it off and maybe not swing quite so hard. Get a couple of them in bounds and pick it back up from there and be able execute and get back.’”

The third set would provide a series of momentum swings as the teams traded leads. The Cavaliers began the set on a 6-1 run before Sisseton answered back with a 10-3 run of its own to take an 11-9 lead, and was still holding on to an 18-17 edge when the match changed after a timeout.

“After the timeout we kind of just realized that we needed to step it up and get going,” Feickert said.

Smid was seeking to encourage her team to finish the set by being mentally in the game.

“I think I said to them ‘At this point it’s 100 percent mental and zero percent physical, because you are completely capable of taking care of the ball, but we’re doing this to ourselves mentally,’” Smid said.

Smid also made it clear to her team what needed to be done to finish the match.

“Get ourselves back into that mindset, refocus our attention on the job that’s at hand and what we need to take care of,” Smid said.

The Cavaliers came alive after the timeout, finishing the set on an 8-0 run and cementing the sweep.

Sisseton coach Deliah Lehrke said the difference in the final moments of the match was her team’s passing.

“We needed to get our passing up to our setters so our setter could set our hitters. That’s what kind of changed,” Lehrke said. “We let that server run up on us and score those points.”

Feickert led Roncalli with 12 kills, while also adding three aces. Ava Hanson had nine kills and one solo block, while Maddie Huber led with seven aces and 14 assists. McKenna O’Keefe led with 13 digs, while Camryn Bain had 12 digs.

Aberdeen Roncalli’s McKenna O’Keefe moves to try and dig out a serve during Monday night’s match against Aberdeen Christian at the Roncalli High School gym. O’Keefe had 13 digs in a win over Sisseton Thursday night. Photo by John Davis taken 9/18/2023

Sisseton (4-7) will host Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, Minn. on Monday, and Lehrke said the team will need to continue to make improvements as the season moves along.

“We’ve got to work a little bit more on our passing, our serve receive,” Lehrke said.

The Cavaliers (9-1) will face a big test on Tuesday as they host Class B No. 1 Warner.

Feickert said the team will work hard to prepare for the matchup.

“We’re just going to practice hard, work on our back row, work on blocking,” Feickert said. “Really push through these next two practices. I think it will be good to get higher competition. I’m excited to play them.”

Smid said the match will be a good test for her team.

“They are a strong team. I think that we have lots of opportunities this year to be battle tested in ways, and Tuesday night will be another one of those opportunities, just at a different level,” Smid said. “It will really be interesting to see how we are able to react to those big game moments and put some pieces together and block some of their attacks, and play a whole match consistently. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”

Serving: Aberdeen Roncalli 68-74 15 aces (Maddie Huber 19-21 7 aces, Jaidyn Feickert 15-15 3 aces).

Hitting: Aberdeen Roncalli 82-104 33 kills (Feickert 27-34 12 kills, Ava Hanson 16-20 9 kills).

Setting: Aberdeen Roncalli 92-92 24 assists (Huber 46-46 14 assists, Faith Danielson 30-30 10 assists).

Digs: Aberdeen Roncalli 50 digs (McKenna O’Keefe 13 digs, Camryn Bain 12 digs).

Blocks: Aberdeen Roncalli 1 solo 4 assists (Hanson 1 solo).

Records: Sisseton 4-7; Aberdeen Roncalli 9-1.

Sisseton stats not reported

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