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Lady Devils lose in four games

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Cassie Masberg of Riverland goes for a hit against St. Cloud Wednesday night.

Rallies helped the Riverland volleyball team remain competitive in Wednesday night's home match against St. Cloud Technical College.

The two teams split the first two games of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference, South Division match. After a 25-11 loss in the first game, the Lady Blue Devils of Riverland came back from an initial six-point deficit and won 25-18 in the second game.

In the pivotal third game, the Lady Devils held a late 22-20 lead but they couldn't close it out and SCTC scored the last five points. The visitors then finished off the match with a 25-18 win in the fourth game.

"We didn't stay together and communicate as a team," Riverland coach Sara Heim said. "We couldn't find the energy to close it out and the third game got away. Still, there were plenty of positives and we can build off those for the next match."

One of the positive signs for the Lady Devils was the addition of another solid floor player to the line-up. Liz Schmidt played her first match of the season for Riverland.

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Along the front line, the Lady Devils got a big boost from the play of Cassie Masberg and Robin Arjes. Masberg led the way at the net with 10 kills and Arjes added five kills, plus a couple of ace blocks.

Overcoming an early 7-1 deficit in the second game, the rally for the Lady Devils started with a kill by Masberg. Working their way back, the Lady Devils got service aces from both Masberg and Arjes.

Securing the serve after another long volley, the home team took the lead on a point run from Brittney Dahl. Arjes recorded a couple of kills in the run and Dahl added an ace for a 17-14 lead. Laura Hemann had an ace serve down the stretch and Masberg served out the last two points in the win.

"In the second game, we did stay together and charged the net," Heim said. "It's nice to have Liz back in the rotation. Cassie and Robin were very aggressive at the net, which helped us get back in the match."

There was very little separation between the two teams in the third game. Arjes hit a service winner for a 9-7 lead. SCTC came back to tie and it stayed tight the rest of the way. Arjes later served in a pair of aces for a 19-18 lead and it looked like the Lady Devils were going to take control.

With the score again tied, SCTC missed on a serve an Riverland held a 21-20 lead. Schmidt next fired an ace for a two-point lead. Then, the next point missed and Alesha Olson of St. Cloud served out the game.

Despite facing a nine-point deficit, the Lady Devils refused to go down without a fight in the fourth game. They came all the way back to within 19-16 on an ace by Brooke Coughlin. Arjes had a kill to keep the deficit at three points, but the home team would get no closer.

Riverland (0-5 overall, 0-2 MCAC South) plays in the Rochester Tournament on Friday. The first match will be against Dakota County Technical College at noon.

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VOLLEYBALL

St. Cloud Technical 3, Riverland 1

St. Cloud#25#18#25#25

Riverland#11#25#22#18

Riverland:Cassie Masberg 10 kills, 13 digs; Robin Arjes 5 kills, 2 blocks, 3 service aces; Brooke Coughlin 6 aces; Laura Hemann 8 digs, 3 aces; Brittney Dahl 15 set assists; Haley Christensen 2 blocks.

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