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Darlington outlasts Boscobel for first SWAL victory
SWDarl VB Steiner

    BOSCOBEL – Darlington didn’t have to wait long to pick up their first win of the SWAL volleyball season after outlasting Boscobel by a score of 15-11 in a decisive game five showdown to pull out a 3-2 victory over the Bulldogs at BHS on Thursday, Sept. 1.
    After dropping the opener 25-14 to the Bulldogs, the Redbirds bounced back with wins of 25-22 and 25-21 to grab a 2-1 advantage in the match.
    “The win over Bosbobel was a big win for us.  It’s always nice to have a win under our belts early in the season,” said Darlington head coach Pam Ritchie. “After dropping the first set to them, I was a little afraid that we wouldn’t bounce back. The team knew what they had to do in order to get the win and they rallied back.”
    The ‘Dawgs hung tough with a 25-19 win in game four to deadlock the match at two games apiece, but the ‘Birds regained their composure and took down the hosts in game five, 15-11, for the decision.
    “The seniors were great leaders, and Abi Merriam and Mallory Busch really stepped in at key times and did what they were asked to do,” noted Ritchie.
    Senior Laura Steiner led the way for the Redbirds with 11 kills, four service aces and three blocks. Anna Fitzsimons added a team-high 17 digs and Cassidy Chambers dished out 10 assists for the ‘Birds.
    At Darlington, on Tuesday, Aug. 30, the Redbirds opened the SWAL season by getting swept in straight sets by the visiting Iowa-Grant Panthers.
    The Redbirds led most of the way in game one before the Panthers rallied late to notch a 26-24 decision. IG picked up the pace in game two winning by a score of 25-17, and the Panthers jumped out to a 16-0 lead in game three to coast to the sweep.
    “I think this year I-G is a very beatable team. Our problem is that our team needs to believe that they can beat teams like I-G and others,” Coach Ritchie stated. “Serving and serve receive were huge issues for us in that match. Without succeeding in either of those categories, it’s hard to score points and run an offense.”
    Cassidy Chambers recorded six assists and four kills to lead the Redbirds in the match. Brianna Reichling had three blocks and Laura Steiner had three aces for the ‘Birds, while Emily Salathe led the team with six digs.
    Darlington (1-1 in SWAL, 3-2-1 overall) is at Fennimore on Thursday, Sept. 8, and at home against Riverdale on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in SWAL action.

Darlington.... 14  25  25  19  15
Boscobel….. 25  22  21  25  11

Iowa-Grant…  26     25     25
Darlington....  24     17     11