Bethlehem Academy volleyball celebration

The Bethlehem Academy volleyball team won its Gopher Conference opener in four sets Thursday at Blooming Prairie. (Mike Randleman/Faribault Daily News)

The Cardinals are in the win column.

Bethlehem Academy’s annually tough non-conference schedule played a part in an 0-3 start to 2019, but BA righted the ship in Thursday’s Gopher Conference opener, downing the host Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms (1-3, 0-1 Gopher) by a 3-1 final with set scores of 25-13, 25-27, 25-16, 25-6.

The fourth set’s 19-point margin of victory was BA’s biggest of the season and sealed the win.

“We came out with great energy and confidence tonight,” said BA coach Chris Bothun. “Things did not always get called our way in set three. We played through some frustration and came out with confidence and determination to dominate set four.

“We serve received really well tonight and made some great plays defensively. The setters did a nice job of spreading the ball around and made some great plays off of some tight balls. Lexi (Boyd), Kennedy (Tutak) and Haley (Lang) played really well at the net. Placing the ball, strong attacks and knowing how to score was an incredible step in our offense. It was also awesome to see the energy on the bench feed the players on the court.”

BA is next at the Shakopee tournament on Saturday. In pool play, the Cards draw East Ridge at 9 a.m. and Forest Lake at 10 a.m. They’re guaranteed two more best-of-three set matches in the afternoon.

Bethlehem Academy 3, Blooming Prairie 1

BA — 25 25 25 25

BP — 13 27 16 6

BA statistics — Kills: Haley Lang 15; Lexi Boyd 12; Kennedy Tutak 11; Haley Lang, Kate Trump 5; Kaitlyn Kotek, Lindsay Hanson 2; Malia Hunt 1 … Assists: Reagan Kangas 21; Kotek 20; Brianna Radatz 2 … Aces: Trump 4; Lang 3; Hunt 2; Radatz, Kotek, Kangas 1 … Solo blocks: Tutak 3; Lang 2; Hanson, Boyd, Trump 1 … Digs: Radatz 32; Lang 14; Kotek 11; Ellie Cohen 8; Kangas, Hunt 6; Hanson 1

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

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