MINONK – Dropping the first set on Aug. 27 forced Fieldcrest to play with a little more sense of urgency against county rival Roanoke-Benson.
The Knights rallied to tip their guests 21-25, 25-17, 25-17.
A setting error on R-B (4-4) gave Fieldcrest (7-0) a lasting lead at 13-12 in the deciding set. The next point was a kill, one of 13 for the match, for the 6-foot Petersen, who also had 14 digs.
While Petersen did her damage, the Knights also received a combined 13 kills from middle hitters Sullivan (seven) and 6-1 sophomore Gracie Schultz (six).
“We knew she would get her kills,” said R-B coach Jodie Sauder of Petersen. “The middles were kind of a surprise for me.”
A Maddy Oltman kill gave the Rockets a 22-21 lead. Kills from Paige Sauder and Kamryn Kearfott, along with a lift call on Fieldcrest, allowed R-B to secure the opening set.
While the Knights were in an early hole, they still kept their composure.
“It was important because you want them to understand they have to play with that edge,” Fieldcrest coach Cathy Sanders said. “I did not see us come out fired up at the start. We made a lot of mistakes early on.”
Jochums was one of four Knights to record an assist, as she led with 13. Alaina Tjaden added 11, while Maci Fandel chipped in with six to go with six points. Carls added nine digs.
“If anything, I think it gives us even more options,” commented Sanders. “It’s nice for somebody else to step up with a second or third set. I like the fact the kids are calling for the ball. They’re coachable and adaptable.”
The Knights needed three sets to defeat the Rockets last season so the Fieldcrest camp knew another tight match was in the offing.
“I knew it was going to be tough. I wish we had an extra day to practice,” Sanders said.
Oltman’s 12 kills were a team-high, as she also had 16 digs. P. Sauder also netted a double-double with 18 assists and 12 points, while Kearfott finished with 10 kills. Maddie Monge added 10 assists.
Although they fell short, the Rockets’ coach is very encouraged about the prospects.
“I feel like they’re playing with confidence,” commented Jodie Sauder of her squad. “I was not sure if they would at the start of the season. This was their (Fieldcrest) sixth match and our second. I think the more we play, we just nip pick the small things. We’re going to keep improving, but I feel like we had an overall great effort. I ask for 110 percent and they did. They have the mindset that we can do something this year.”