GARWIN - South Hardin head coach Karla Bronzynski had to work around a few injuries and a sickness Monday night, but her pieced-together lineup was still good enough to sweep GMG in non-conference play.
The Tigers cruised in the first two games before claiming another win in the final set of a 25-4, 25-8, 25-14 sweep.
"We performed pretty well," Bronzynski said. "We're very young team, and I put the kids in different spots tonight, but they got through it OK."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
South Hardin sophomore Emily Haywood (15) blocks an attack shot by GMG sophomore Olivia Barritt Monday during the Tigers’ three-game sweep of the Wolverines in Garwin.
The Tigers were dealing with a foot injury to Sarah Boomgarden and a concussion to Morgan Ridout. Both players, as well as Mikayla Foster, were limited in the match. Foster played through a stomach flu, but Bronzynski said she was not at 100 percent.
South Hardin jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in Game 1 and then forced GMG's first timeout when it went up 11-1. It was 14-4 following a South Hardin net violation, but the Tigers then rolled off 11 straight points to win going away.
During that last stretch of 11 straight points, junior setter Kayla Prosser came through with three kills and a block, while Emily Haywood contributed three kills. South Hardin dominated play at the net all night, scoring easy points off GMG miscues.
"We want to stay aggressive throughout the match, and we did that tonight," Bronzysnki said. "We are used to playing bigger teams so we have to try to attack when we can."
GMG coach Darlene Koster started all five of her seniors for Senior Night in the first game and played them throughout the opening set.
"They've given us four years of hard work," Koster said. "We wanted to let them give us their best shot."
The Wolverines went back to their normal starting lineup in Game 2, but it was much of the same on the scoreboard.
The Tigers once again jumped out to an early 5-1 lead behind two kills from Ellen Swartz as well as aces from Prosser and Alaina Lake. Back-to-back aces by Haley Lawrence pushed the lead to 11-2 and then a kill and an ace by Swartz made it 13-3.
The Wolverines had trouble stopping long runs by South Hardin all night. Another run of five points pushed the Tigers' advantage to 20-6. GMG did score three straight points, but South Hardin ended the frame with the final five tallies.
"We're struggling with teams that hit it hard right at us," Koster said. "We're working on getting better with our defense."
GMG challenged South Hardin (9-16) a little bit better in the final game. The Tigers started off with a 4-1 but a pair of kills by Caitlin Appelgate and a South Hardin net violation evened things up at 8-all.
However, after scoring the next two points, South Hardin would not trail the rest of the game. Back-to-back kills from Swartz made it 16-10 and then Prosser recorded back-to-back aces before two consecutive kills by Kayleigh Priske pushed the lead to 20-11.
Despite having no seniors on her varsity roster, Bronzynski said Prosser is the player the rest of the team looks to for leadership.
"She plays volleyball all year and is getting letters from all over the country," Bronzynski said. "And she's easiest kid to coach. She listens and makes the adjustments that I ask her to make. She's just a great kid to be around."
GMG made a few errors down the stretch to put South Hardin into a better position for the sweep. Swartz's ace made it 24-12 late in the match and the Tigers eventually claimed the win after the Wolverines served into the net.
"We hustled and talked more in that final set and were able to play better," Koster said. "We also got the ball to our best hitters, which always helps."
GMG's top hitter Appelgate finished with a team-high three kills. Mikaella Koster had a team-high four assists and one dig, while Mackenzie Burt added one kill, one dig and one assist.
Prosser finished with 27 assists, four kills and four aces, while Swartz had a team-high 11 kills, five digs and two aces. Lake contributed 12 digs and two aces, and Lawrence got five kills, five digs and two aces.
Fisher turned in six kills, while Haywood added five kills and three aces. The Tigers finished 67-of-69 in serves with 16 aces.
The win over GMG starts a busy week for the Tigers. South Hardin will host Gladbrook-Reinbeck tonight at 7:30 p.m. before playing at home Thursday against Colo-NESCO. The Tigers also travel to the Woodward-Granger Tournament on Saturday.
GMG's next match will be Thursday in Le Grand against East Marshall.