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Volleyball: New Life Academy falls in battle for second in MCAA

Joci Morara of the Eagles pushes the volleyball across against Southwest Christian in game four Thursday. (Bulletin photo by John Molene)1 / 2
Ally Hullett (26) and Rachel Tateosian (24) of the Eagles go up to block a Southwest Christian attack in game four. (Bulletin photo by John Molene)2 / 2

In a battle for second place in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association, visiting Southwest Christian got the better of New Life Academy.

Southwest Christian – ranked tenth this week in the Class AA coaches association poll -- scored a 25-23, 25-7, 20-25 and 25-17 win Thursday to grab the undisputed second place position in the MCAA.

New Life Academy dropped to 11-15 overall and to 5-2 in the conference.

Southwest Christian improved to 14-9 on the season and 7-0 in the MCAA.

Thursday marked the final home regular season match for the team's eight seniors. They gave it their all – with the possible exception of a second set where the Eagles weren’t competitive.

The rest of the match the Eagles gave the Southwest Christian Stars all they could handle.

“I wish that inconsistency was not there,” said Eagles coach Wally Bomgren. “But I think the team is still finding itself. We played some really good volleyball for three out of four sets tonight. I’m not unhappy with the effort. As their coach just told me, we were very scrappy; we picked up a lot of balls. We don’t quite have the hitting power that this team (Southwest Christian) has. But we tried to block and slow them down a little bit and I think we did a pretty good job of that, winning game three and being close in two others.”

After sleepwalking through the second set, the Eagles came out with something to prove in the third and took it to the Stars, both at the net and by playing standout defense.  The Eagles rallied from a 12-6 deficit to take an 18-14 lead and then closed out the match with aggressive hitting up front.

New Life Academy tried the same tactics in the fourth set, but this time, Southwest Christian was equal to the task and broke away from an early 4-all tie to take a 21-14 lead.

“Everybody on the floor for us is basically keeping the ball alive and they’re not letting the ball hit the floor. And when we all play like that you can just see there’s a flow to it and we don’t get beat,” said Bomgren. “We force the other team to make some errors because we’ve got all six people on the same page, keeping the ball alive. And it’s that scrappiness that I like and I think will serve us well going into the sections in about 10 days.”

New Life Academy is scheduled to wrap up the regular season with a game at ninth-ranked Concordia Academy (16-7) Tuesday, Oct. 18.