It was rivalry night at Park High School on Thursday as East Ridge traveled to Cottage Grove for not only girls' volleyball, but soccer games as well.
The air was electric as many of the kids knew each other and there were some smiles and laughs before the match. Once the match started, the Raptors came in and took control of the match early.
"We just need to play our game when we go into any match this season," said Lauren Galvin. "Tonight, we played our game and it helped us earn the win. It's a lot of fun having these types of matches against Park and Woodbury because we've grown up together playing this sport."
The first two sets were handled pretty well by East Ridge with final scores of 25-11 and 25-12 to take a 2-0 lead. The third set became a little tighter as Park fought for every point, but lost a close set with a 25-22 final score.
The Raptors wanted to start the conference season this way and they hope this win can bring some momentum to their next match. This past week has been a strong week for confidence with the East Ridge volleyball team as they beat Champlin Park on Monday and swept Park on Thursday.
Now, the focus will be on competing hard and working together for each point during the match next week.
Even though the Wolfpack was swept on Thursday night, head coach Kristina Jameson was happy with how the girls played and the team reached their three goals for the night.
The first goal was to reach double digits in each of the sets, which was accomplished. In addition to that goal, Park wanted to reach 18 points in one of the sets, which happened in the third set.
The other goal was to stay sharp mentally during the game and never let down no matter the score or any other aspects of the game. Jameson thought the girls achieved that because they kept digging out balls and trying to find the open players to score kills and earn points.
Finally, the last goal was to gain respect from their opponent to show that they're competitive and improving each year. Jameson thought they gained respect, but obviously with any team there's area for improvement heading into the rest of the season.
The biggest thing for the Wolfpack is focusing on their passing and making sure their tip coverage improves for the next match. Jameson noted that the tip coverage was low due to the fact that the girls had to be back for digs and such all night long.
"The hitters did a great job tonight hitting around the blockers and finding good spots to get some points," Jameson said.
Emma Slusser was one of the hitters in Thursday's match and she was happy with how the girls worked for those three sets. They knew East Ridge was going to be tough, but they learned a lot about their team on Thursday night.
Slusser said this Park team won't quit and will fight for every point possible, which was shown on Thursday night with some strong volleys between the two teams. Slusser is becoming more comfortable with her position on the court.
"Hopefully we can take a few things from this match and use it for next week with more conference matches," Slusser said. "It's a tough conference, but any team can win on any given night."
East Ridge will have a non-conference match on Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. as the Raptors host River Falls from Wisconsin. Park will travel to Mahtomedi on Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. for its non-conference game to start the week.