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Lady Cardinals power their way past Magic

PARK HILLS — The Mineral Area Lady Cardinals disposed of the Meramec Magic in three straight games on Wednesday, 25-15, 25-20, 25-18, utilizing a strong attack in game one, but having to play catch-up in games two and three.

Meramec was able to make a contest of it with their defensive play, but a constant attack by the Lady Cardinals wore down the Magic with constant pounding from hitters Anna Laitinen, Haley Motley and Kelly Kosmopolis.

 The Lady Cardinals stayed in a 6-1 format for all three games with setter Tish Meyer making 32 assists. Libero player Kelsey Davault with 19 digs and Monika Barros de Alcantara  with 11 digs had their work cut out for them as they warded off quite a bit of the Magic’s attacks, keeping the ball alive for a diving and sliding Meyer to put back up for a set.

The two teams traded serve for serve for the first rotation in game one. The Lady Cardinals established a 12-7 lead on Laitinen’s serve, causing Magic to call time to try and readjust their game. The readjustment never took effect as Meramec was unable to score on their own serve until the very last of game one.

The Lady Cardinals attack hit a solid streak of four straight kills with Rachel Kleekamp serving MAC to an 18-10 lead and another Magic time-out. Kleekamp continued her service game for two more points.

With the score 21-13, Chelsey Hainen hammered down two straight kills to give the Magic their only point on serve with Nicole Cross at the service line. Mineral Area broke back, and three side-outs later Laitinen served an ace to put the game away.

Alyssa Blinzler served an ace to start game two, and the Magic jumped out to a 6-1 lead, causing Mineral Area coach Tim Copeland to call time to try and refocus his players’ concentration.

Meramec kept going to their outside hitters and the strategy was working for the first part of the game. Kelly Kosmopolis served an ace, and a set by Meyer to Motley was good for the kill to pull the Lady Cardinals to within one at 11-10.

 MAC’s service game took control the rest of the way with the running jump-serve of Kelsey Davault and the power jump-serve of Alcantara. Davault served four straight with two going for aces to give MAC their first lead at 17-16.

Alcantara, with a rejuvenated front-line attack by MAC, was able to serve the Lady Cardinals to game-point as her hard-hit serves kept the Magic from setting up a strong attack game.

The Magic made a three-point run on the serve of Heather Gamblin, but a ball hit out on a Meramec attack put game two into the Lady Cardinals’ book.

Meramec again established the early lead in game three at 9-6, but Kosmopolis was able to serve the Lady Cardinals into a tie with Cassie Garcilaso stuffing a Magic attack. Meyer served MAC into the lead, with Garcilaso hammering down a kill.

Alcantara served five straight points to give MAC an 18-13 lead and a Magic time-out as well. Alcantara served an ace to make it 20-13, which gave her 16 service points as well.

Laitinen was able to put away 14 kills on the night, with several coming in the third game down the stretch.  Kosmopolis made nine kills with three coming from the backfield. Motley had seven kills, up front, mostly on cross-court attacks. Nicole Hopp led the Magic in kills by matching her jersey number with 10.

Mineral Area only misfired on four serves in the entire match to improve to 12-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play. MAC will play next in the ICC tourney to be held at Peoria, Illinois.

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