GRANTSBURG – The end of a win streak was secondary for the Grantsburg volleyball team.
Entering a match against St. Croix Falls having won their previous nine matches and 22 consecutive sets, the Pirates were cognizant of recent events in the area that occurred away from the court.
“The death of two Clayton students in a car accident on (Sept. 16), including volleyball player Grace Schradle, is uppermost on our minds,” Grantsburg coach Deb Allaman-Johnson said. “We have perspective; we know what matters most.
“Not only that, but (St. Croix Falls) star athlete Jordan Braund is undergoing yet another surgery after a car accident and subsequent fire left her badly burned, along with a long road to recovery after amputation.”
Despite the events that took their minds off the impending volleyball match, the Pirates did manage to extend their set win streak to 24 with 25-21 decisions in each of the first two sets against the Saints. However, a St. Croix Falls’ win of the third set (26-24) in extra play was followed by consecutive set wins (25-17, 16-14) and the Saints ended Grantsburg’s season-best match win streak.
“We get the bigger picture – we lost a match. We didn’t lose a daughter, sister or teammate,” Allaman-Johnson said.
The Grantsburg coach could identify where her team allowed a potential win to slip away and it started with small miscues.
“The kicker was missing six serves in the third set after winning the first two,” she said. “We have not played a single extra set all season. We lost to (Division 1) River Falls in two sets; other than that, we had not dropped a set in 2019.”
She said the response following the third-set loss was not one with Grantsburg’s usual aggressiveness.
“We had a few misfires and communication breakdowns (and) in set four, we were playing not to lose instead of playing to win,” she said. “I was happy with the positive intensity shown consistently by a few players; if we could get everyone to that point, we would be unstoppable.”
But in this match, it was a St. Croix Falls player that Allaman-Johnson said was closest to unstoppable.
“Sidney Hoverman was nearly impossible to stop,” she said.
Hoverman had 36 kills and 21 digs for the Saints.
Lucia Neuman led the Pirates with 58 assists and 12 digs; Emily McCurdy had 18 digs and nine kills; Sydnei Larson and Riley Henk had 18 digs each.
The Pirates (13-2) host Webster on Thursday and play at Frederic on Tuesday.
The Tigers stopped a two-match skid with a win over Siren on Thursday.
Webster took a 1-0 lead with a 25-16 win in the first set, though the Dragons responded with a 25-22 Siren win in the second. The Tigers claimed the match with 25-20 and 25-9 wins in the third and fourth sets.
Kaitlyn Lee had 14 kills and 13 digs for Webster. Summer Winkler had 14 kills; Hannah Janssen had 24 assists while Torrance Wols had 12 digs.
Webster (10-7) plays at Grantsburg on Thursday and hosts Luck on Tuesday.
In addition to their four-set loss to Webster, the Dragons also had a four-set loss to Luck on Sept. 17.
While they forced the Cardinals to extra play to win the first set (28-26), Luck went up 2-0 with a 25-20 win in the second set. Siren recovered to force a fourth set with a 25-21 win in the third but the Cardinals claimed the match with a 25-20 win in the fourth.
Olivia Walters had 37 assists for Luck.
Siren plays at St. Croix Falls on Thursday and hosts Unity on Tuesday.