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Inspired Panthers take down Hornets

By Staff | Oct 12, 2018

Submitted photo Rugby High School volleyball team members take a photo with C-squad coach and cancer survivor Kim Anderson (back row center).

It was a night for battles when Rugby’s varsity girls’ volleyball squad met Harvey Wells County’s Hornets in the RHS gym Tuesday.

Before the game, the Lady Panthers donned pink t-shirts to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The team set up tables laden with baked treats near the gym entrance, and students sold pink raffle tickets with a chance to win a cash prize.

Senior volleyball players and cross-country team members’ parents were honored in a short ceremony before the game as well.

The fight against cancer continued as a theme throughout the game, and during a break, Coach Jessica Fritz invited cancer survivors in the crowd to stand. About 15 members of the crowd stood to a round of applause.

Then, Fritz announced the proceeds of the sale and raffle would go to help C-Squad Coach Kim Anderson in her personal battle with cancer, as she prepared to head to Rochester, MN for treatments.

On the court, the fighting spirit continued, as Rugby’s girls found their spikes blocked by the Lady Hornets, who put plenty of their own over the net. At the beginning of game 1, HWC paced the Lady Panthers point for point, even taking the lead at times, before going down to defeat 25-15. Game 2 saw the battle continue before the Panthers again dominated, winning by the same 25-15 margin as in game 1.

The Hornets would not surrender easily, however. The Panthers fell behind by a score of 4-6 at the beginning of game 3, and although the squad overtook HWC minutes later, the Lady Hornets fought on, closing a 9-point Rugby lead to just 4. Rugby finished the nail-biting game with a 25-20 win.

“We went into this knowing that they would give us a battle, and they’d make us fight for every point,” Fritz said of the HWC squad. “I told the girls, ‘You’ve got to fight for everything. You can’t let anything go.’ I know it was parent night, but you’ve got to fight, no matter what.”

Fritz added, “Harvey (Wells County) never gave up. Harvey is a great team, and they’re well coached.”

Panther kills went to Maria Blessum with 13, Brooke Blessum with 10, and Anni Stier with 6. Kelly Swanson scored 4 aces, while Brooke Blessum scored 3. Blocks went to Brooke Blessum with 4, and Karsyn Hager with 2. Maria Blessum and Anni Stier each had 3 digs, while Sarah Blessum logged 22 assists for the evening.

Hornet kills for the set went to Megan Thompson with 7, McKenzie Erickson with 6, and Jaye Fike with 4. McKenzie Alveshere and Annika Towe each scored 1 ace, while Annika Towe and Megan Thompson each had 1 block. Digs went to McKenzie Erickson with 6, and Hannah Felchle with 5. Annika Towe logged 11 assists, and Jennah Lematta had 4.

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