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Spartans sweep Hilltoppers

The slow-starting Superior High School volleyball team found itself in a battle with the winless Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers Tuesday evening at the SHS gym.

With Marshall coming across the bridge with an 0-4 record in the Lake Superior Conference, the Spartans may have overlooked their opponent a bit.

Fortunately for the Spartans, they were able to respond and pull off a 3-0 sweep of the Hilltoppers in front of a crowd of around 200.

"We've been starting out slow every match this season," SHS senior Lindsey Lindstrom said. "We're trying to work on being intense right away and we've been improving as a team since the beginning of the season. But we need to keep working hard and eventually we'll come out stronger in games and win by easier margins."

The Spartans won the match by scores of 25-23, 26-24 and 25-23 to improve to 3-2 in the LSC.

"They beat us to five points in every game," SHS coach Crystal Lawton said. "That was a huge problem for us. That gave them the momentum every game and if you don't start with it (momentum), you may not end with it.

"This time we were able to come out with three wins, but the next time -- you never know."

Lindstrom led the Spartans with 10 kills to go along with three blocks and six digs. Danielle Radzak added five kills, three blocks and two ace serves and setting up the Spartan attackers were Sara Strand, with nine set assists and three aces, and Caitlin Keute, with six set assists.

Defensively for the Spartans Casey Herubin had seven digs and Ashlee Olson six.

The first game went back and forth. After Marshall jumped out to 5-3 lead, Superior gradually grabbed a 14-7 advantage before the Hilltoppers scored nine straight points for a 16-16 tie.

It remained close until the end when Strand served out the two-point win for the Spartans.

The second game started the same as Marshall led 5-2 early.

Superior trailed by seven points twice (17-10 and 18-11) and never took the lead until 25-24 on a serving ace by Strand. The junior followed up with another winning serve for another two-point win.

Allison Homstad served Marshall to a 5-1 lead in game three, which was tied up seven different times.

The latest tie was 17-17 thanks to an ace by Marshall's Courtney Murphy.

Superior got that point right back and eventually built a 24-18 lead until a late 'Topper comeback made the third game closer than the Spartans would have liked."

"It's a win, but it wasn't pretty," Lawton said.

For Marshall, Murphy had nine digs and three aces, Meagan Fitzgerald added three kills, Erianna Reyelts three blocks and four kills, Homstad 14 assists and nine digs and Esther Miner 10 digs, six kills and three aces.

SPARTAN SPIN: The Spartans play Thursday at Rice Lake then wrap up the week Saturday at the Duluth Marshall tournament. ... Superior junior Amber Callaway left the second game with a hand injury. She returned to action in the third game.