Title hopes fade with 3-1 loss to Cougars

ABOVE: Lion setter Kailee Olerud attacks against blocking attempt of Mabel-Canton’s Maddy Michels. BELOW: Mariah Edgington executes one of her 11 scoring blocks against state-ranked Mabel-Canton.
By : 
S. Lee Epps

It likely was the largest crowd to ever witness a volleyball match in Spring Grove as two teams with 20-2 records came in to battle for the lead in the 2018 SEC East Division race. 

Spring Grove, which had snapped a 59-match losing streak to Mabel-Canton in the championship match of the Labor Day Tournament, came into this Homecoming showdown seeking its first conference net title in 34 years (since 1984). 

With a straight-set win over the Lions in their first league match and a second SEC win last week over Lanesboro, the Cougars have now clinched at least a share of a 21st consecutive conference crown.

This 3-1 Mabel-Canton win in the SEC rematch, for all practical purposes, means another outright title. The Cougars (22-2, 11-0 SEC) now have a two-match lead over second place Spring Grove (20-3, 9-2 SEC) with only three league matches left.


M-C 3, SG 1 (25-23, 13-25, 25-18, 25-16)

Two-time all-conference senior Mariah Edgington sparked the Lions with two career-high totals - 11 blocks and 22 digs along with 15 kills.

For Mabel-Canton, Lexi Thorson scored with 13 kills along with 17 digs while two-time all-conference senior hitter Maddy Michels put away 11 kills. All-SEC sophomore setter Kenidi McCabe had 38 assists and a match-best 29 digs.

While the Cougars had a huge 49-to-29 advantage in kills, they had only a five-point margin at the net when figuring in the Lions' 15-to-2 margin in scoring blocks.

With all the digging and blocking, neither team was very efficient at the net. The Lions had 29 kills and 28 errors (1% efficiency) while the Cougars at 6% had far more kills (49) but also more misfires (36).

From the service line, SG had a slim two-point scoring edge. Each team scored with 5 aces, but the Lions had 6 errors to 8 for the visitors.

SG head coach Kelsey Morken acknowledged how hard the Lions played but also how difficult it is to score against an exceptional defense. She noted that the Lions showed they could play against state-ranked competition. 

Morken added that the team was not able to adjust as much as needed to counter some of the problems posed by the talented Cougars.

"I was happy with how we started out," M-C coach Lonnie Morken told KFIL-Radio. "We played really, really good volleyball for the first half of that first set."

Speaking of Spring Grove's second set win, he said, "They played a phenomenal set…They hit well, served well, set well, blocked well, blocked extremely well. They frustrated us…Spring Grove is going to be a really tough out when playoffs come...I was proud to get out of there with a victory."

M-C won three of the four sets but only outscored the Lions overall 88-82 due to SG dominating the second set 25-13.


Set one, M-C 25-23

As in their previous conference match, the Cougars took the first set by two points. M-C held slim leads most of the way, but it was tied for the fifth time at 18-all. The Lions managed only one kill and one ace block down the stretch, but there were enough M-C errors to make it close until the end.


Set two, SG 25-13

Spring Grove never trailed with 7 scoring blocks the most notable number. The Lions earned 16 points with only 6 errors. Uncharacteristically, M-C had more scoring errors than winning plays.


Set three, M-C 25-18

The Cougars revived to reverse the momentum. The Lions continued to block very well but mustered little offense. M-C led all the way with twice as many winning plays (16) as mistakes (8). 


Set four, M-C 25-16

It was tied for the seventh time at 9-9 before the Cougars pulled away. Again, M-C again mounted more offense than did SG.


The Lion B-team (8-7) fell for the second time to the Cougars 0-2 while the freshmen (5-4-1) dropped another split decision 1-2. It was a season split for both junior high teams with the Lion Red Team (7-6) winning the eighth grade rematch 2-1. The Black Team (7-5) came up short as Mabel-Canton took the seventh grade contest 2-1. 


With only one match last week, the Lions play four times in eight days to close the regular season. It was the second straight challenge against a state-ranked team at No. 10 Caledonia on Monday of this week. The second-place Lions then sought a season sweep at third-place Houston the next night. 

SG hosts the SEC rematch versus Kingsland on Thursday, Oct. 11 before the regular season ends with a home match against Lyle/Pacelli on Monday, Oct. 15.


INDIVIDUALS: K- kills, B-ace blocks, A-ace serves, S-set assists, D-digs. In order of jersey number

Doering 1K, 0.5B, 1A, 2D; Olerud 2K, 2.5ZB, 1A, 17D; Johnson 5K, 19D; Solum 1K, 0.5B, 1A, 6D; Edgington 15K, 10B, 1A; Kampschroer 5K, 1.5B, 1A, 5D; Lile 16D



Earned Points: SG 49 (29K, 15B, 5A); MC 54 (49K, 2B, 5A)

Total Errors: SG 36, MC 46

Attacks: SG 152, MC 177

Kills/Errors: SG 29/28, MC 47/36 

Hitting Efficiency: SG 1%, MC 6% 

Ace Blocks: SG 15, MC 2

Serving: SG 93% (77-83); MC 92% (89-97)

Aces/Errors: SG 5/6, MC 5/8

Digs: SG 84, MC 86


updated since print edition with Monday, Oct. 8 results

>>Southeast Conference (as of Oct. 1)


Mabel-Canton 12-0 SEC (22-2 season)

Spring Grove…9-2 (21-3)

Houston………. 8-3 (11-6)

Kingsland……...6-5 (8-10)

Lanesboro……..2-10 (6-22)


Grand Meadow……...9-2 SEC (17-7 season)

Lyle/Pacelli…………..6-5 (7-9)

Randolph………………5-6 (7-10-1)

LeRoy-Ostrander…..3-8 (8-16)

Schaeffer Academy..2-9 (4-13)

Glenville-Emmons…0-12 (2-15)


Spring Grove VOLLEYBALL*conference match. 

21 wins, 3 losses (9-2 SEC)

W vs.*Randolph 3-0

W at *LeRoy-Ostrander 3-0


at Mabel-Canton Tourney (SG champion)

W vs. Waukon 2-0

W vs. Grand Meadow 2-0

W vs. Lanesboro 2-0

W vs. Kingsland 2-0

W vs. Rushford-Peterson 1-1

L vs. Mabel-Canton 1-1

W vs. Mabel-Canton 2-0


W vs. *Lanesboro 3-0

L *at Mabel-Canton 0-3

W *at Glenville-Emmons 3-0

L vs. *Schaeffer Academy 3-0


at Waukon Tourney (SG repeat champion)

W vs. Lansing Kee 2-0

W vs. Waukon 2-0

W vs. Postville 2-0

W vs. Waukon 2-0

W vs. MFL MarMac 2-0


W vs. *Houston 3-0

W at *Kingsland 3-1

W*at Lanesboro 3-0

W*at Grand Meadow 3-1

L vs. *Mabel-Canton (HC) 1-3

W at Caledonia 3-1

Tues. 10/09…….*at Houston

Thurs. 10/11…..*Kingsland

Mon. 10/15……..*Lyle/Pacelli 



8-8 (7-4 SEC)

W vs. Randolph 2-0

W at LeRoy-Ostrander 2-0

W vs. Lanesboro 2-0

L at Mabel-Canton 0-2

W at Glenville-Emmons 2-1

L vs. Schaeffer Academy 1-2

W vs. Houston 2-0

L at Kingsland 1-2

>>R-P Tourney

L vs. Winona 0-3

L vs. Winona Cotter 1-2

W vs. Rushford-Peterson 2-1

L vs. Winona 0-2

W at Lanesboro 2-1

W at Grand Meadow 2-0

L vs. Mabel-Canton 0-2

L at Caledonia 0-2



5-5-1 (5-4-1 SEC)

W vs. Randolph 2-0

L at LeRoy-Ostrander 0-2

T vs. Lanesboro 1-1

L at Mabel-Canton 1-2

W at Glenville-Emmons 2-0

W vs. Houston 2-0

W at Kingsland 1-1

W at Lanesboro 2-0

L at Grand Meadow 0-2

L vs. Mabel-Canton 1-2

L at Caledonia 0-2




W at LeRoy-Ostrander 2-0

L at Mabel-Canton 0-2

W vs. Schaeffer Academy 2-0

L vs. Houston 1-2

L at Kingsland 1-2

W at Lanesboro 3-0

L at Grand Meadow 0-3

W vs. Mabel-Canton 2-1

L at Caledonia 1-2




W at LeRoy-Ostrander 2-0

W at Mabel-Canton 2-0

W vs. Houston 2-1

L at Kingsland 0-2

W at Lanesboro 2-1

L at Grand Meadow 1-2

L vs. Mabel-Canton 1-2

L at Caledonia 0-3