Pirates hang on to defeat Saints, 3-2

Kenna Johnson (center) celebrates with her teammates after putting down a huge hit to defeat the Saints 26-24 to take the first set.

Goob Coy | Sentinel

ST. CROIX FALLS—As is typical when Grantsburg plays St. Croix Falls, last Tuesday’s match kept everyone on the edge of their seats with both teams battling until the very end. But when the dust settled it was Grantsburg fans that left the gym celebrating. The Pirates won 3-2 by scores of 26-24, 25-17, 18-25, 21-25 and 15-10.

“This was not a pretty win,” Pirates coach Deb Allaman-Johnson said of the game. “While we usually pride ourselves on defense and passing, we faltered here thanks, in part, to tough serving Saints. Also, Addie [McCurdy] is going to get her kills here and there, so we don’t need to fret and sweat over that too much, but we will be better prepared next time. I’m really proud of our defense for making necessary adjustments that helped turn the tide for us.”

The Pirates found themselves in a precarious position in the first set, down 21-24 with the Saints ready to take the first win of the night. But, Charli Siebenthal stepped to the service line to start the Pirate rally with her tricky floater serves. They clawed their way back to tie it up at 24 each, and then Kenna Johnson took charge finishing the game with two big booming hits to seal the win.

“We had a huge victory in the first set when we were down 21-24,” Allaman-Johnson said. “It is so difficult to score runs and play flawlessly three times in a row to tie it up against a team of this caliber, but to do it five times in a row was a Herculean effort that deserves commendation.”

The Pirates won the next set 25-17 before dropping the next two to bring the night to the dreaded fifth set.

Grantsburg jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before SCF tied it up at 3-3. The Pirates took back the lead and never gave it up again, sealing the win 15-10.

“I’m always proud of the fight on our team,” Allaman-Johnson added. “They played hard and were all in, mostly doing a good job of feeding the hot hitters, scrambling to protect our floor, and having the focus to put serves in play in the final set (after missing four serves in set four). We were physically and mentally prepared to play five sets, and matches like these will make us stronger in the long run as we keep striving to find our groove.”

The win keeps the Pirates in the hunt for the West Lakeland Conference title with their only loss coming to Luck who they will face again on October 3.

Johnson had a big night at the net with 20 kills followed by Randi Siebenthal and Olivia Ohnstad with 10 each.

Charli Siebenthal was the assist leader with 27. Olivia Oachs had 14 and Johnson had five.

Randi Siebenthal, Johnson and Jenna McNally each had two ace serves.

On defense, McNally tallied 21 digs with Randi Siebenthal adding 17 on the night.

Johnson and Ohnstad had three blocks each, and Brooke Quimby had two.