Ellie Knutson

Faribault senior Ellie Knutson implored her teammates after winning a point in Thursday’s match against Mankato West. (Mike Randleman/Faribault Daily News)

The Falcons weren’t blown off the court in Thursday’s three-set loss to Mankato West.

They were just missing that little extra.

Host Faribault (7-17, 3-7 Big 9) dropped sets of 25-20, 25-20 and 25-17 to one of the Big 9’s best in the West Scarlets (14-8, 8-2 Big 9).

“We didn’t have that oomph we needed to push through,” said Faribault coach JoAnna Lane. “We started placing the ball and seeing some of their openings and hitting from the outside. We communicated as a team and encouraged each other. We kept battling when we were behind, which is tough. We just didn’t have as much drive as I was hoping.”

Faribault hit .153 on the night led by .300 by setter Payton Evanstad who had a team-highs of 12 kills and 12 assists to go with 11 digs for the triple-double.

Ellie Knutson also did a bit of everything with five kills, two blocks and five digs. She was one of three seniors honored on senior night.

Senior McKayla Armbruster led with three aces and was second with 12 digs.

Senior Brooke Flicek also got time on the court.

“She’s usually the girl getting hyped and getting everyone going,” Lane said of Knutson. “McKayla is quiet and humble yet a fierce and competitive spirit out there. Brooke is our mama bear out there, if you need something everyone goes to her. She’s responsible and will get it taken care of. They all bring different leadership and they’re all captains for that reason.”

The Falcons held slim leads in the first two sets but couldn’t keep it close when the score got into the 20s.

In the third, West had less trouble completing the sweep and winning its fourth match in the last six.

Faribault finishes the regular season at Big 9 champion Northfield (19-4, 10-0 Big 9) 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Mankato West 3, Faribault 0

M — 25 25 25

F — 20 20 17

Faribault statistics — Kills: Payton Evenstad 12; Olivia Bauer 8; Ellie Knutson 5; McKayla Armbruster 4; Bennett Wolff 2 … Assists: Evanstad 12; Wolff 11; Hanna Cunniff 2; Knutson 1 … Blocks: Knutson 2; Bauer 1 … Digs: Cunniff 19; Armbruster 12; Evanstad, Payton Ross 11; Knutson 5; Wolff 4; Bauer 3 … Aces: Armbruster 3; Evanstad 2

Reach Sports Editor Mike Randleman at 507-333-3119 or on Twitter @fdnmike.

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Sports reporter for the Faribault Daily News. Graduated from Iowa State University in 2016. Originally from Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

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