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Knights sweep Seckman behind vigorous blocking

Farmington middle hitter Zoey Gerwitz (5) blocks an attack by Seckman hitter Jenna Pfau (13) during game three volleyball action on Tuesday in Farmington. (Matt King,

FARMINGTON – From active back-row coverage at the outset to dominant blocking over the final two games, the Farmington volleyball team was able to stifle the Seckman attack.

Zoey Gerwitz acquired three of her six solo blocks during a dominant second set, and the Knights punctuated a 25-17, 25-6, 25-20 home sweep in a final tune-up for conference play.

Ava Cooper spiked a match-high nine kills, highlighted by a couple of rocket swings from the right side in game three, and Claire Hampton tallied six kills, five digs and two service aces.

Farmington libero Brynn Johnson jump serves during game one volleyball action against Seckman on Monday in Farmington. (Matt King,

Senior libero Brynn Johnson collected 15 digs, and served the last 10 points of game two with a pair of aces mixed in. Emma Anderson also sparked the defense with 10 digs for Farmington (8-9).

Seckman (8-6-2) looked to extend the action with tougher blocking down the stretch, and grabbed a 17-16 lead in game three on consecutive kills by Carlee Masters and Paige Robinson.

But the Knights scrambled to effectively clear the next rally, then capitalized on a free ball as Gerwitz blistered a kill through the open middle.

A missed tip shot from the Jaguars broke an 18-18 tie, and Gerwitz stuffed a subsequent swing while Hampton served a 5-0 scoring streak.

Farmington made a recent lineup change to expand the roles of setters Emily Bauer and Cheyenne Strohkirch to a six-rotation capacity as outside hitters.

Bauer found a rhythm with middle Madison Mills and Cooper to earn the first two points of the match off single passes, and totaled 16 assists overall.

Strohkirch finished with 11 assists and eight digs, and bolstered the attack by connecting on three of her four kills during the final stanza.

The Knights surged ahead 15-6 after the second of four total aces by Johnson — who made two lunging stops to win a rally — and continued their defiant defense throughout game one.

Farmington defensive specialist Emma Anderson (20) makes a dig against Seckman during game one volleyball action on Tuesday in Farmington.

Anderson fought off three incoming smashes in a row to help Farmington seize another hard-fought point at 18-11, and Gerwitz notched her first block to make it 23-14.

Cooper and Hampton spurred a 5-1 start to game two with back-to-back kills, and the margin swelled to 12-4 after the Knights rescued a ball from the net to successfully clear.

Mills entered the front row when Gerwitz rotated out, and factored into the massive 10-0 run with blocks on consecutive points. Cooper slammed a kill off the head of a defender at 23-6.

Chloe Nichols compiled six kills, five digs and two aces to pace the Jaguars, who stayed within 6-5 in game three after middle hitter Kailey McGhee registered a kill and block in succession.

Farmington answered when Cooper deflected an attack upward and Gerwitz sent the next one back. Hampton followed with two aces to help restore a 14-10 lead.

Mills chipped in four kills for the Knights, who will travel to Fredericktown for an MAAA Large-School division showdown on Thursday.

Sophie Steinbrueck picked up 10 digs, Katie Lamontagne dished out 13 assists, and Brandalyn Brown shared two blocks for Seckman.

Farmington outside hitter Ava Cooper spikes a kill off two Seckman blockers at match point during game three volleyball action on Tuesday in Farmington.

Farmington senior Emily Bauer (2) sets as junior Cheyenne Strohkirch anticipates the attack during game two volleyball action against Seckman on Tuesday in Farmington.

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