Proctor senior Payton Rodberg seemed to always be in the right place during the Rails' 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-23) win in a Lake Superior Conference matchup in Superior Thursday, Sept. 30.
Proctor led throughout all three sets, but the Spartans remained within striking distance in each one. Every time Superior started to put a few points together, Proctor setter Gabrielle Jauhola seemed to find the Rails power hitter for an important kill.
Rodberg finished the match with 22 kills — including nine in the first set — and 20 digs.
“Payton is our power hitter and when we need to change the momentum, she’s the one we go to,” coach Trish Jauhola said. “She’s the one that’s going to put the ball down and she’s going to do it in a fashion that’s going to make a difference.”
Rodberg said she tried to vary the placement of her shots to keep the Spartans off balance.
“I’ve just got to mix it up to make sure they don’t catch on to what I’m doing,” Rodberg said. “But I couldn’t do it without my setter. She’s the one that gets the passes out to me.”
In the first set, Proctor slowly built a 19-13 lead, but Superior battled back with an 8-2 run — powered by ace serves from Carlie Lohman and Destiny Herring — to tie the frame. On cue, however, Rodberg had a momentum-changing kill to start a four-point Rails run to finish the set.
The second set went much the same way, with Proctor taking an early lead, but the Spartans battling back to within one point at 18-17. Proctor responded by winning seven of the next 10 points to take the frame.
The Rails looked to finish off Superior early by taking an early 6-1 lead. The Spartans didn’t give in, however, tying the set at 12 and trading points back and forth until back-to-back kills from Rodberg and Ella Walker finished the match off for the Rails.
Coach Jauhola thought her team came out a little sluggish early on and that contributed to the close sets.
“I don’t know if they came ready to play,” she said. “If they had come out fired up like they did at Grand Rapids, this would have been a much different game. We needed a little bit to get our momentum going this game. It took a little bit, but they started to get it, we just couldn’t get a run going early on.”
Superior coach Brenda Pluntz was happy with the way her team played in the loss.
“When we got down, we would fight back,” Pluntz said. “They didn’t rattle us — our defense was good, but Payton is a solid hitter.”
Proctor (14-1) is scheduled to play at a tournament at Blaine High School beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.
Superior (7-12) will host Duluth East at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5.
Proctor def. Superior 25-21, 25-20, 25-23 — P: Payton Rodberg 22K, 20D; Ella Walker 7K; Gabriella Jauhola 31SA, 2AS. S: Lexie Lohman 6K.