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John L. Braese
VALE – After witnessing an almost empty gym on the previous Friday and Saturday for EOL league contests, EOS was pleased to see a full gym for the visiting Crane Mustangs invading the Vale Vikings for volleyball action on Tuesday, Sept. 26. The student section was filled as were fans of the blue and white wearing t-shirts on the alternate side (good to see old friends from Crane).
Both the fans of the Mustangs and the Vikings received more than the cost of entry as the match went the full five sets before Vale took a 3-2 victory over the top ranked 1A team in the state.
At first glance, it appeared Crane was heading home early as the Mustangs cruised over the Viks in the first set, 25-20. The Vikings returned in the second set to knot up the match, winning 25-22 but it was a Crane blowout in the third set, 25-16, to again make it look the Mustangs were ready for the bus.
Vale reversed that score in the fourth set, winning 25-15 and in a fifth set battle back and forth, the Vikings took the match with a 15-13 win.
“It wasn’t a perfect night, but it was a great night,” said Vale coach Shannon Steele. “I always love playing teams that are competitive and play consistent, fundamental volleyball. Crane is beyond a class act and an exceptional group of athletes.”
Crane captain Kortney Doman led the Mustang offense with kill shots that from the stands, were just plain scary on the speed and strength.
Vale saw perfect serving from Ella Nieskins, Sadie Gravet with Kesley Stepleton serving at 96 percent. Halle Peterson and McKenna Justus each served three aces.
Elise Seals finished with 28 digs followed by Jojo Cleaver’s 17 digs.
Offensively, the Vikings were balanced with Brogan Payne, Stepleton and Cleaver each recording six kills while Sadie Graviet picked up five kills and Wrenna Cooke adding four kills. Cleaver added 16 assists and Theresa Gonzalez ended her night with 11 assists.
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