MILFORD - While North Union may have to play all its postseason games on the road, that hasn't hindered the Warriors through the first two rounds.
After defeating Emmetsburg 3-0 last week, North Union followed up with a 3-0 sweep over Okoboji on the Pioneers' home floor in Milford on Tuesday.
The victory propels the Warriors (18-22 overall) into the Class 2A Region semifinals against 12th-ranked Lake Mills at Lake Mills this Friday. The match starts at 7 p.m. The bulldogs advanced with a 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-10 win over St. Ansgar.
North Union's Morgan Rahm (6) jump-sets the ball as Emily Hagebock (10) and Aurora Oliver (3) prepare to go on the attack against Okoboji in Class 2A Region play in Milford on Tuesday.
Photo by David Swartz
The first two games against Okoboji followed a similar patter Wednesday. The two teams stayed close through the first part with the North Union pulling away midway through.
The teams were tied at 8-8 when North Union went on a 7-1 run. The Pioneers struggled to get their offense going and committed too many errors.
North Union took advantage of some key hits down the line throughout the night.
"When we saw the line was open, we took advantage of it," said North Union coach Hilary Elliott. "Sometimes we made some hitting errors and didn't make the best passes to set up our hitters, but that happens in volleyball."
In the second game, North Union led early, but the Warriors then began making some of those errors as Okoboji took a 9-6 lead.
But North Union came roaring back with four straight points, taking the lead on an ace serve by Autumn Boland. After a seesaw battle, which included a pair of kills by Sarah Rolling to keep the Warriors, errors by the Pioneers helped the visitors put some distance between the two teams. One kill by Anna Bauer followed by two from Emily Hagebock put North Union up 22-15. The Warriors closed out the match with a block at 25-18.
It's never easy to put a team away at the end of the season and Okoboji put up a good fight in the third game. After falling behind 13-8, the Pioneers scored six straight points to take the lead. North Union surged back in front by a handful of points, but Okoboji wouldn't go away. After tying the match at 20-20 on a Warrior error though, Rolling responded with a kill. Three Okoboji errors over the next four points gave North Union match point. After a side out to the Pioneers, the Warriors celebrated the 25-21 victory after an Okoboji serve went into a net.
Rolling led the North Union attack with 11 kills while Hagebock and Bauer each had eight and Aurora Oliver had six.
Libero Jordan Guerdet had 22 digs while Autumn Boland had 18, Rolling had 16 and Oliver had nine. North Union finished with seen aces with Oliver serving three and Boland had two. Oliver had three blocks.