Hala Davis said if things aren’t working for her she really focuses on her blocking.
Everything was going just fine for Davis and the Warriors Thursday, Sept. 30, as they swept the St. Cloud Tech Tigers 3-0 at Brainerd High School.
Davis finished with eight kills, five blocks, five digs and an ace serve to help the Warriors improve to 13-6 overall.
“I focus on my blocking a lot, especially when the other parts of my game like my defense or hitting are off,” Davis said. “I really try to focus on one part of my game and bring it to the court strong and tonight my blocking was on for sure.”
The two teams battled back-and-forth to start the match. With Brainerd trailing 10-9, Meghan Smith slammed a kill down and Kate Stadum followed with an ace serve. Smith tallied another kill followed by a Davis ace serve for a 13-11 Warrior advantage. It was all Brainerd after that as they cruised to a 25-15 first set victory.
“When we have 6-foot-1 (Karley Dunham) and 6-foot-2 (Davis) as our middle block it’s kind of hard to go around it,” Warrior head coach Rick Kuelwein said. “Iyana (Pickar) and Abby (Paulson) also played well. We tried to make them hit crosscourt, but they were out of system so much that we just had our way with them.”
After a slow start in the second set saw Brainerd down 0-4, the Warriors scratched back to make it 10-8 after a Stadum kill. The kill put Stadum in charge of serving, which she then did 15 straight times. Her 15th serve was an ace and handed Brainerd a 25-8 victory.
Stadum finished with six ace serves, five kills, three digs and three blocks.
“Tonight we served really well,” Kuehlwein said. “I haven’t had this many aces this calendar year.”
The third and final set belonged to Brainerd. Davis smashed a kill to hand the Warriors an early 5-3 advantage. Aden Yost followed with an ace serve. Davis and Stadum hit back-to-back kills and Yost tallied another ace for a 10-3 lead.
Stadum found herself serving again and rattled off seven straight points for an 18-5 Warrior lead. Karley Dunham recorded one of her three kills. She added four blocks.
A Smith kill pushed Brainerd’s lead to 20-6 before Tech rallied to make it 22-11.
Iyana Pickar then recorded an ace followed by a Stadum kill and a Davis kill for a 25-11 Game Three victory and sweep.
“We’re just playing with a lot of energy and positivity,” Davis said. “When we’re getting hyped after every point and celebrating and just coming together as a team that really helps our team.
“We’re doing a lot of defensive work in practice and really just trying to pick up every ball and be scrappy, have energy on the court and just play together as a team.”
Smith led the Warriors with nine kills to go with six digs and three ace serves. Myah Nelson added a kill to go with 14 set assists and Yost finished with 13 set assists.
Brainerd has now won seven of its last eight matches, including a second-place finish at the Duluth East Invite.
“I told the kids at the beginning of the year that you have to be aggressive,” Kuehlwein said. “If we stay aggressive those back row hits will be falling in. Smith, Stadum and Davis they’re all hitting from the back row.
“We’re getting ready for a tournament in Blaine this Saturday and they changed the format. It’s going to go on points and I’m not sure that’s good for us because we could 25-23 and lose 25-21 and lose the whole thing. We tried to cut down on our errors. In the first game, we gave them 11 errors. Then we gave them six and in the last set, we gave them five. We cut down our errors every set.”
St. Cloud Tech 15 8 11
Brainerd 25 25 25
Kate Stadum 5 kills, 3 digs, 3 blocks, 6 ace serves
Emma Storm 2 digs
Ella Anderson 2 digs
Myah Nelson 1 kill, 1 dig, 14 set assists
Hala Davis 8 kills, 1 ace serve, 5 blocks, 5 digs
Anika Aho 1 kill
Karley Dunham 3 kills, 4 blocks
Aden Yost 3 ace serves, 13 set assists
Meghan Smith 9 kills, 3 ace serves, 6 digs
Iyana Pickar 2 kills, 1 ace serve, 3 digs
Abby Paulson 2 kills, 1 block
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Warriors 3, Tech 0
Key: Brainerd racked up 13 ace serves
Conference: Brd 6-3, Tech 1-7.
Overall: Brd 13-6, Tech 5-9
Next: Brainerd at Blaine Invitational 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.