Vermillion's volleyballers won twice in exhilarating duals last week, each time knocking aside the pressure of a tense match with a 25-23 clinching game.
The Tanagers swept Bon Homme at the VHS gym, setting the tone of the dual with a 25-14 first-game win. They followed with a 25-17 second game prior to the third-game nailbiter.
Sierra Allen recorded 12 kills, 10 digs and eight service aces for Vermillion, which also got nine kills from Ashley Ouellette. Jenny Bye pitched in with eight kills and 10 digs, Lexi Regnerus with six kills, Molly LeCates with 24 assists and Elise Hughes-Berheim with 12 digs.
Two nights later at Tri-Valley it took four games instead of three, but victory was just as sweet for the Tanagers. They won the first game, 25-21, and Tri-Valley evened the dual with a 25-17 win. The night concluded with two more close games, the Tanagers prevailing 25-21 and 25-23 for a 3-1 triumph, their fourth of the season in six matches.
Coach Lenni Billberg enjoyed seeing contributions from a lot of people, including nine kills and 14 digs from Jenny Bye, nine kills and eight digs from Allen, eight kills from Ouellette, seven kills from Regnerus, five kills and eight digs from Michelle Blythe, five kills from Lizzy Bye, 35 assists from LeCates and 21 digs from Hughes-Berheim.
The Tanagers concluded the week with a strong day of volleyball at the Luverne Invitational on Saturday, going 2-1. Vermillion defeated Luverne, two games to one, and trimmed Edgerton by the same score.
"Our girls played well against some really skilled teams," Billberg said. "Defensively we kept the ball in play, forcing the opponents to make mistakes."
In their last match against Southwest Christian, a perennial contender in Minnesota, the biggest problem wasn't the opponents' skill but their size. "We were at a loss how to handle such tall, skilled athletes," Billberg said.
Billberg said Jenny Bye had a great hitting day, and Allen and Regnerus were tough at blocking. Ouellette dropped in a few timely tips when the team needed them, and the play of Vermillion's setter, LeCates, was the best of her career, according to her coach.