EBEN - A lengthy service run helped the Superior Central Cougars take charge in the fourth set Tuesday night as they posted a four-set, 25-15, 25-17, 17-25, 25-7, volleyball victory over the Bark River-Harris Broncos.
Sophomore Ally Bray opened that set with six straight points, including two aces, as the Cougars quickly built a 6-0 advantage.
BR-H scored the next two points, but was unable to get any closer.
A block by senior middle hitter Mallory Peterson on Superior Central senior middle Vanessa Freberg gave the Broncos a glimmer of hope. The Cougars, however, still led 10-4.
Following a sideout, senior Brooke Pasanen hit eight consecutive points, including three aces, as Superior Central's cushion ballooned to 19-4.
"Once we got on a roll with our serving, the girls relaxed and played their game," said Cougars' coach Chris Bray.
The Cougars continue to build on their advantage, sealing the verdict on a kill by senior middle hitter Brianna Emard.
Freberg finished the second set with a six-point run.
In the third, however, sophomore Hannah Starnes served for seven straight points to enable to Broncos to gain a 7-0 advantage. During that run, Starnes hit four aces, including three in a row.
Later in the third, Starnes added a five-point run as BR-H built an insurmountable 22-14 cushion.
"We had the energy and drive in the third set," said BR-H coach John Jorasz. "They (Cougars) were making mistakes and we were able to take advantage of that. Our ball placement was good and we got it over the net when we needed to. Their first big run in the fourth set is what got us. It seemed like they were out there to play. It's always hard to catch up when you fall behind so quickly."
Starnes finished with six aces, two blocks and three assists for the Broncos, who host Mid Peninsula Thursday.
Freberg served for 21 points, including 16 aces. She also had 10 kills, a block and 11 digs.
"Vanessa has been working on her serving and she knows where to place the ball, and Emilee Lintula came off the bench and played strong on defense," said coach Bray. "We got tight at the beginning of the third set. We weren't moving our feet and couldn't pass. We just couldn't stop them and keep our serve. We have to learn to relax even when we're playing from behind. We weren't happy with our third set, although were showing improvement in each match."
Pasanen had five aces among her 12 points to go with six kills, 15 assists and six digs. The Cougars won the JV match, 25-17, 23-25, 15-9.