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Ask, No. 2 K-M win five-set thriller over No. 4 Stewartville

The KoMets secured a nail biter over the Tigers behind Ellie Ask’s season-high kills and the student section’s energy.

km stewartville
No. 2 Kasson-Mantorville secured a thrilling 3-2 victory over No. 5 Stewartville in Kasson Tuesday.
Abby Sharpe / Post Bulletin
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KASSON — Ellie Ask had all the potential to be a great volleyball player at Kasson-Mantorville — it just wasn’t expected so soon.

The junior came into this season on a KoMets team that graduated a group of seniors it relied heavily on, like Maddie Converse. Ask was confident in her ability to help the team, but coaches had to keep pushing her to improve and reach her highest potential.

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Coach Larry Hegerle said he knew Ask had the skill to put on a performance, but she lacked varsity experience.

“At the beginning of the season, I definitely lacked confidence,” Ask said. “And that was one thing that coaches were like, ‘Hey, you’re going to be a great player. We just need you to go out there and show them what you got.'”

That work was on display for a full crowd that saw Ask record a season-high 18 kills, helping to rally the No. 2 KoMets past No. 4 Stewartville in a nail biter, 25-13, 25-16, 19-25, 22-25, 15-7, at Kasson-Mantorville High School.

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“When you have someone that performs like that — above what they normally do — it makes all the difference in the world,” Hegerle said.

Every match against the Tigers (3-2 HVL, 7-5 overall) is big for K-M (3-0, 7-2). It’s one that players such as senior Ella Babcock circle when the schedule is released.

Babcock is a three-sport athlete — she plays softball in the spring, basketball in the winter — and she doesn’t favor one sport over the others.

“I usually say whatever season I’m in,” she said.

Based on the energy she brought and stats she recorded, volleyball could be the sport for Babcock. Whenever she was on the floor, it felt like something good would happen. Her energy, and that of her team, rivaled the fans.

Take the loudest football crowd and imagine them inside an echoing gym, and you’d have the K-M student section.

“I think our energy was crazy,” Babcock said, “and you could tell by the fans, it’s the biggest game of the year.”

Tuesday night’s win was an especially big test for the KoMets, as Stewartville swept highly ranked Byron (2-1 HVL, 9-3 overall) Sept. 13.

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It’s a potential preview of talented teams K-M could face come playoff time.

The KoMets hope the momentum of this win carries over into the team’s packed Homecoming week schedule, which includes two more matches this week against New Prague on Thursday and Friday.

Kasson-Mantorville 3, Stewartville 2
Stewartville#13#16#25#25#7

Kasson-Mantorville#25#25#19#22#15

Stewartville: Emily Lamb 5 kills, 6 digs; Arianna Blohm 18 kills, 4 blocks, 3 aces; Regan Reker 3 kills, 3 blocks; Hannah Martinson 8 digs; Abbie Langseth 12 assists, 2 aces; Kaylee Lehrman 12 assists.

Kasson-Mantorville: Aryss McAdams 32 digs, 5 aces; Ella Babcock 13 kills, 3 aces; Whitney Demo 14 kills, 11 digs; Adi Kelley 21 assists, 8 digs; Abby Distad 36 assists, 18 digs, 3 aces; Ellie Ask 17 kills.

Abby Sharpe joined the Post Bulletin in February 2022 after graduating from Arizona State University with a sports journalism degree. While at ASU, she created short- and long-form stories for audio and digital. Readers can reach Abby at 507-285-7723 or asharpe@postbulletin.com.
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