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Braves sweep host Chieftains
Belmont earns first conference win with 3-0 victory at Potosi
Sophomore Ashley Freeman puts down a kill as senior setter Ashley Knebel ducks out of the way in Belmont’s sweep of host Potosi last Thursday night. - photo by Photo by Jason Nihles

POTOSI — Belmont broke into the win column in Six Rivers West play with a 25–23, 25–20, 25–22 victory at Potosi last Thursday night.

Senior Lizzy Haag and Rilyn Mootz each had seven kills apiece to lead the Braves, who rallied from deficits in both games one and three to complete the sweep.

“Against Potosi we really showed our true abilities,” said Belmont head coach Genevieve Sprung. “Every girl showed up to play and we kept the intensity throughout the whole game.”

Belmont led most of the first set. The Braves opened up a 14–10 advantage, but Potosi junior Sydney Fecht  had a kill and fellow junior Lilly Post slammed back-to-back kills then had a block to pull the Chieftains within two points at 17–15.

A Belmont error and a kill by sophomore Kylie Reuter tied the match at 18–18. 

After falling behind again, Potosi used a 4–0 run to build a 22–20 lead, but fell apart down the stretch. 

Three Chieftain hitting errors tied the match at 23, then senior libero Caitlyn Cushman served up a key ace to force game point, which Ashley Knebel put away with a kill from the right side.

A Mootz kill early in the second set gave Belmont an early 6–2 lead. The Braves again led throughout most of the set, before Potosi railled to tie it at 18–18 on a kill by Post. 

But again hitting errors plagued the Chieftains. Kills by Haag and sophomore Ashley Freeman, and three straight Potosi errors gave Belmont a 23–18 lead. Freeman’s block gave the Braves game point.

Post and Reuter had back-to-back kills for the home team, but a serving error give Belmont the 25–20 win.

Potosi jumped out to a 5–2 lead in the third set, but quickly fizzled. 

Belmont used a 6–2 run to build a 16–12 run and never trailed again.

“The girls have been so close with almost every set we’ve played this year,” said Potosi head coach Jolene Murray. “They just need to get that winning confidence to know how to end games.  Unfortunately, we made 20 hitting errors and missed eight serves Thursday night against Belmont, not to mention their aces on us. It’s hard to win a match when you give up that many points. 

“We didn’t hit too many of the goals we just set for the rest of the season, so we’ll keep working. We just didn’t have our normal leadership and had some girls have off nights. We had to go to Lily a lot because that was the one thing Belmont really didn’t have an answer for. Belmont hustled and was very fired up for that game.”

Post finished with a team-high 16 kills and five blocks in the loss. Reuter and sophomore Jessica Noonan each added nine kills.

Belmont (2–6–2, 1–5 SRW) was swept by league-leading River Ridge (12–0–1, 6–0) last Tuesday night 25–12, 25–15, 25–11.

“River Ridge is a great competitor and we didn’t put our best effort forward throughout all of the sets,” said coach Sprung. “We look forward to playing them again.”

The Braves  will travel to Benton (3–7–1, 1–5 SRW) Thursday night. They will then host Shullsburg (13–2, 4–1) on Tuesday.

Potosi opened last week with its first conference victory of the season, outlasting host Benton 21–25, 25–11, 25–23, 22–25,15–9.

Post had 16 kills and five blocks in the win. Junior Brooklyn Friederick passed out 21 assists, senior Justice Udelhofen had 35 digs, and senior Chloe Groom added 17 digs and a team-high five aces.

“We had a chance to end in the fourth set but wanted to play the fifth, I guess,” said Murray. “Finishing, which has been a problem for us all year, came into play in that fourth set. The girls played with a lot of heart in this match with the hustle plays to prove it.  They just fought all the way through. Our conference, with the exception of a couple of teams is very competitive. Any team could take the win on a given night.”

Murray’s Chieftains finished Monday night, notching their second league victory of the season with a 25–22, 25–21, 28–26 sweep of visiting Highland.

Potosi (4–9–2, 2–4 SRW) traveled to Wisconsin Heights on Tuesday and will compete in the Wisconsin Heights Invitational on Saturday.

Belmont 3, Potosi 0 
(from Tuesday, Sept. 17 @ Potosi)
Belmont 25 25 25
Potosi 23 20 22
Belmont stat leaders 
Kills: Rilyn Mootz 7, Lizzy Haag 7, Chole Crapp 5. Blocks: Mootz 5. Assists: Ashley Knebel 21. Aces: Crapp 4. Digs: Crapp 15.
Potosi stat leaders 
Kills: Lilly Post  16, Kylie Reuter 9, Jessica Noonan 9. Blocks: Post 5. Assists: Brooklyn Friederick 15, Shae Siegert 11. Aces: Chloe Groom 1, Siegert 1, Sydney Fecht 1, Friederick 1. Digs: Justice Udelhofen 17, Groom 9.

River Ridge 3, Belmont 0
(from Tuesday, Sept. 17 @ Patch Grove)
Belmont 12 15 11
River Ridge 25 25 25
Belmont stat leaders 
Kills: Ashley Freeman 6. Blocks: Rilyn Mootz 2. Assists: Ashley Knebel 6. Aces: Mootz 2. Digs: Knebel 9.

Potosi 3, Benton 2
(from Tuesday, Sept. 17 @ Benton)
Potosi 21 25 25 22 15
Benton 25 11 23 25 9
Potosi stat leaders 
Kills: Lilly Post  16, Kylie Reuter 6, Jessica Noonan 5. Blocks: Post 5. Assists: Brooklyn Friederick 21, Shae Siegert 10. Aces: Chloe Groom 5. Digs: Justice Udelhofen 35, Groom 17.