Sparta erases early deficits, sweeps Logan in MVC match

Sparta erased deficits in the opening two sets and pulled away for an easy victory in the third set on its way to a 3-0 sweep of La Crosse Logan in Mississippi Valley Conference volleyball action at Alton Ask Gymnasium Thursday night.
The sweep was the second over the Rangers this season, but this time it didn’t come easy.
Logan forged a 21-18 lead in the opening set of the best-of-five conference match, but a Marissa Erickson kill closed the game to 21-18.
Erickson followed with three straight points from the serving line to give Sparta a 22-21 advantage, but Logan answered with a 3-0 run to regain the lead at 24-22.
After freshman Callie Ziebell cut the deficit to 24-23 with a big block, Maddy Schaller served for two straight points – the second on an ace – to put Sparta back on top 25-24.
The Rangers tied the score at 25-25, but back-to-back kills by Laney Schell and Ziebell gave the Lady Spartan spikers a 27-25 win.
Despite the big first-set comeback, Sparta came out flat in the second set, falling behind 6-0 out of the gate.
With Sparta trailing 15-9 midway through the second set, Ziebell served for three straight points to cut the deficit to 15-12.
The Lady Spartan spikers cut the deficit to 21-19 late and Ziebell stepped up again, this time with two aces that led to a 3-0 run and a 22-21 Sparta lead.
Logan forced two more ties down the stretch, before a Becca Jenkins kill gave Sparta a 26-24 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Lady Spartans used the momentum they gained from back-to-back comeback to pull away for a 25-17 victory in the third set to complete the sweep.
“We didn’t stop playing. The girls stuck together and kept fighting, passing and attacking the ball,” said Sparta head coach Dave Waraxa.
“By the end of the night, you could see they were starting to figure it out,” he continued. “For the most part, we’ve got a crew that believes they can win.”
The win comes on the heels of a 3-0 loss at Aquinas earlier in the week and Waraxa hopes his team can use the momentum to pick up more wins down the stretch.
“It was an important win for our post-season seeding,” he said. “More importantly, it gives us momentum to hopefully go into Tomah and get another win to get things going in the right direction again.”
Jenkins led the Lady Spartans at the net with a career-high 14 kills, followed by Schell with seven, Erickson and Mackenna Antonneau with five apiece, Ziebell with four and Lily Schmitz with three.
Ziebell also recorded seven blocks, while Erickson and Schell got credit for 19 and nine assists apiece.
On the defensive side of the net, Schell led the way with 13 digs, followed by Erickson with six, Jenkins and Olivia Schulz with five each, Ziebell and Kirsten Krause with three apiece and Schaller with a pair.
From the serving line, Ziebell recorded four aces, Schaller finished with two and Schell, Erickson and Jenkins each added one.
Sparta improved to 3-5 in MVC action and 12-12 overall with the win.
The Lady Spartan spikes are back in action Tuesday night, when they travel to Tomah to take on the cross-county rival Lady Timberwolves in a 7 p.m. MVC match at Tomah High School.

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