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Volleyball: East Ridge keeps winning with sweep of Park

East Ridge's Stephanie Barber (5) and Janie Grindland (10) go up to block a Park attack in Suburban East Conference volleyball Tuesday. (Bulletin photo by John Molene)1 / 3
Stephanie Barber of the Raptors powers a shot past a Park defender in set three Tuesday. (Bulletin photo by John Molene)2 / 3
East Ridge power hitter Allie Barber splits the defense and hits through a Park block in set three Tuesday. (Bulletin photo by John Molene)3 / 3

East Ridge’s Raptors have been on a roll of late -- winning seven of 10 matches -- including a victory over No. 9 Lakeville North last week.

Still – playing before a loud home crowd on Senior Night -- the Park Wolfpack were hoping to knock the Raptors off their stride.

It didn’t work out that way. East Ridge won in straight sets, 25-13, 25-16 and 25-14.

“We’ve been doing a lot of team-building stuff, which had brought us a lot closer and I think we worked really well tonight together,” said East Ridge senior Leah Witzel, who had 20 assists for the Raptors. “And we’ve been practicing new plays, like offensive plays where we do a lot of switching and girls hit from different spots, and it’s been really working.”

The Raptors climbed to 15-8 on the season and 4-2 in the Suburban East Conference.

Park slipped to 7-10 overall and 1-5 in the SEC.

East Ridge did what the Raptors do best Tuesday, hit the ball hard and play tight defense. They also never let the Wolfpack build any momentum.

“It was an all-around team effort tonight,” said East Ridge coach Madeline Amon. “I think everyone did a good job coming off the bench when they were put in, and they took care of business. So it was a good win.”

East Ridge senior hitter Allie Barber had another big night with 14 kills and four aces to lead the Raptors. Grace Whitman had two blocks.

“We’re all very disappointed in the loss because we really believed we had a chance to push them, and the game was over too quickly,” said Park coach Kristina Jameson. “Our ball control was lacking, and they served really well, and we weren’t ready for some of those serves. They got us out of system often, and we didn’t put the ball away when we could.

“They (the Raptors) are a great team, and they hit the ball down where we weren’t,” Jameson added. “They hit around the block well, and our hitters weren’t putting the ball away. I think our percentage was decent, but we didn’t put the ball away when we needed to. I thought defensively we did all right. We did a good job of getting outside of the shadow of the block, but they hit the ball hard.”

East Ridge hosts Forest Lake (2-4, 9-11) Thursday, then plays at the Lakeville North Invitational Friday.

Park is at White Bear Lake (0-6, 7-20) Thursday.

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