MAKING CONTACT - Alaina White of Eureka gets ready for a kill attempt against Roanoke-Benson on Sept. 5. The Hornets won the home opener in straight sets (Photo provided).

EUREKA – Signs were pointing toward a third and deciding set on Sept. 5.

Roanoke-Benson built an eight-point lead on two occasions, but was unable to force a third, as Eureka emerged with a 25-17, 25-23 victory in the latter’s volleyball home opener.

The Rockets (2-3) held an 11-3 advantage and later 12-4 on a service error from Eureka (5-3).

The Hornets came all the way back to forge a 20-all tie on a Joan Zimmerman kill and grabbed their first lead of the set on a service ace from the senior,

“Against a team like that, you just cannot allow them back in the game,” offered Rockets’ coach Jodie Sauder. “We had our opportunities to finish it.”

An ace from Maddie Monge tied the set at 23 before a kill from Delaney Phillips and an Alexis Charlton tip ended the festivities.

 Besides being behind for a majority of the second, Eureka trailed 6-2 in the first.

“I think being young sometimes we do not always focus,” said Hornets’ coach Lena Dohner of the slow starts, “That’s something we’ve talked about for the last two weeks and for the long haul.”

A saving grace was the production from the middle spot where Phillips and fellow sophomore Holly McDonald each had five kills, one less than the team leader in Zimmerman (eight points).

“Anytime we could, we wanted to go to the middle,” said Dohner. “It was working really well. The setters did a great job getting the ball to them.”

Darby Leman handed out 15 assists, while Lynnde Dingledine added eight. Emily Streit had seven points and 14 digs.

Brynn Rossman, who has shifted from libero to an outside hitter, paced R-B with six kills.

“It was kind of a move I felt I had no choice but to make,” admitted Sauder. “She’s a smart hitter. She knows where the weakness is.”

Kamryn Kearfott added four kills, while Frannie Heckman added 10 assists. Monge recorded nine assists and four points.

Although R-B wasted a golden opportunity to extend the match, Sauder sees light at the end of the tunnel.

“I could probably go back and look at a few plays and know we needed to execute better,” she explained. “We’re early so we’re still learning. We’ll figure it out.”

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