Thursday night was a roller coaster ride for the Faribault volleyball team.
The Falcons (1-2, 1-0 Big 9) were seeking their first win of the season in match No. 3 at home against Rochester John Marshall (1-2, 0-1 Big 9. It looked to be smooth sailing as they dominated the first set, 25-18.
Nearly half of Faribault’s points came via mistakes by the Rockets.
John Marshall fought back to win the next two sets, only for Faribault to come back in the fourth set and lead wire-to-wire in the fith. Faribault won 25-18, 16-25, 20-25, 28-26, 15-12.
“Our number two program goal is to have fun by working hard. Tonight was the definition of that,” said Faribault coach JoAnna Lane. “We could have crumbled and fell when we were down 2-1. We shot ourselves in the foot, essentially, in game three.”
Faribault piled up the errors in the second and third sets. Lane estimated her team gave away 22 free points in the third set.
“It was either blocking errors, serving errors or hitting errors. It was ugly,” Lane said. “We disguised it. We’d rally for a little bit, then we’d make an error. When you’re out of position, just get the ball in play and play defense and live another day.”
The fourth wasn’t looking much better for the home team as the Rockets could hear the busses starting up 20-14 in the set.
“Game four, why I’d say it started that way, is we played so timid. We had made so many errors, we were just trying to get the ball in So it took us a little while to get back on our feet. Then we did,” Lane said. “Bennett Wolff took control at the net. She hit .400. So I was just screaming at my setter, ‘Find Bennett.’ Payton Evenstad, she had 14 kills. She only hit .100, but she got set a zillion times and is our go-to player. We have some other girls on the court who can get it done, and they stepped up tonight.”
Evenstad hit .111 to be exact with 14 kills and Wolff had 13 kills at a .423 clip. The two junior setters fed off each other well.
The Falcons also got a boost from freshman defensive specialist Clara Malecha who got the bump up from junior varsity.
“Game four, she gave us a lot of momentum because that girl chased down two hardcore balls,” Lane said. “One of them we won the point from it, the other we didn’t win the point. But everyone, the crowd and the bench, went wild for her because she laid it all out on the floor. In practice, they don’t get on the ground enough, and I get after them for it. Tonight, they got on the floor and they left it all out there. I’m proud of them.”
Faribault tied it at 23. Each team had chances at set point before the Falcons got it done in overtime.
With the momentum and noise from a crowd that filled much of one side of Nomeland Gymnasium, the Falcons never trailed in the first-to-15 fifth set.
Faribault finished with seven aces and seven service errors. It hit .165 as a team with six blocks (five by Wolff), recorded 31 assists and 66 digs.
Faribault is next at the Apple Valley tournament beginning 5 p.m. Friday against Apple Valley. The Falcons play again 7:30 p.m. Friday against Albany or Mounds View and will have two matches beginning Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. or 10:45 a.m., depending on Friday’s results.
Faribault 3, Rochester John Marshall 2
R — 18 25 25 26 12
F — 25 16 20 28 15
Faribault statistics — Kills: Payton Evenstad 14; Bennett Wolff 13; Olivia Bauer 6; Meghan Swanson 3; Izzy Herda 2; Payton Ross, Maggie Liechtnam 1 … Assists: Evenstad 17; Wolff 12; Hanna Cunniff, Liechtnam 1 … Aces: Bauer, Ross 2; Wolff, Cunniff 1 … Blocks: Wolff 5; Bauer 1 … Digs: Ross 18; Wolff 11; Evenstad 10; Swanson, Cunniff 9; Bauer 8; Clara Malecha 1