ROANOKE – The last two volleyball encounters between Fieldcrest and Roanoke-Benson went the distance. On Sept. 23, the Knights prevented another three-set match with a 25-21, 25-22 win at Dick Broers Gymnasium.

Fieldcrest’s first lead of the match came at 9-8 in the opening set courtesy of an Ashlyn May kill. Their lead never grew more than five.

Meanwhile, the margin of the set was four, which was also the number of service errors the Rockets (9-8-1) committed,

“Against a team like this, those mental mistakes cannot happen,” R-B coach Jodie Sauder said. “We fought hard. We’re still building. We do not want to peak yet,”

As was the case in the 2018 match Fieldcrest won, the Knights went to the middle attack.

“We need to get our middles more involved just when we’re up against these teams,” pointed out Fieldcrest coach Cathy Sanders. “They (R-B) were keying on that. Gracie started off well then cooled down a little bit. Just getting them more involved.”

The 6-foot-1 junior recorded a team-best seven kills and also notched three solo blocks.

“We knew they were probably going to Gracie Schultz. We were trying on finding where she was going,” said Sauder.

The Knights (13-5) jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second. R-B got as close as 9-8 on a solo block from Whitney Leman.

Match point occurred on a kill from Carls.

Although it was not always textbook, the guests closed out both sets.

“I was glad they finished,” commented Sanders of not going to three. “Instead of being on the defensive, we were on the offensive. I would not fault a player for taking a hard swing.”

May had 12 digs and served seven points, while Fandel (five points) and Zada Baker each had 11 assists.

R-B’s Brynn Rossman recorded a match-high nine kills, while Kamryn Kearfott added seven and Frannie Heckman four. Maddie Monge dished out 13 assists, while Heckman followed with nine.

Five of the Rockets’ losses have to come to HOIC competition. Still, that does not dismay Sauder.

“We have a tough schedule the first few weeks,” she commented. “Even though we’re not winning, I feel like we’re giving them good matches. That prepares us for our conference matches.”

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