There was nearly a comeback last Thursday night when the Ranger volleyball team took on Anoka at home, falling 3-1.
Forest Lake suffered a slow start in its home opener and fell behind early at 17-12. The Rangers fought back to tie it up at 21, then took a 23-22 lead following a kill by senior Mariah Daninger in the middle and ace by senior Lauren Riedeman, but would fall behind due to hitting errors and lose 25-23.
In set two, the Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but struggled in serve receive to fall behind 8-6. Despite a late-game serving run by senior libero Bree Raabe, the Rangers fell again by two points.
Forest Lake came back with a vengeance to battle in set three. While tied at 10, junior hitter Emily Lindstrom jump-started a run with a stinging kill from the outside. The Rangers never looked back, winning 25-14.
The Rangers and Tornadoes exchanged blows to open the fourth set, where senior Caitlin Freer earned three kills in four play to boost her squad to a 9-5 lead.
But the home team lost points due to rotation errors, bringing the score to an even 11.
Daninger commanded the middle with a diving save and block in one play, followed by a kill by Lindstrom on the outside to keep the lead at 17-14. With the middle hitter back to serve, Forest Lake suffered errors on the net to bring the score to another tie at 19. Four Ranger errors later and down 24-20, Forest Lake started another run with Raabe behind the serving line, forcing Tornado turnovers until Anoka called a timeout with just a one-point lead at 24-23.
Following the timeout, Daninger led her team to a one-point lead at 25-24 off a block kill and kill tip in consecutive plays.
But the Ranger back row suffered two errors in the final points to lose 27-25 in the fourth set.
Raabe and Lindstrom led the defense with 19 digs. Raabe also went 18-18 serving for 11 points, while Riedeman had eight digs and two aces.
Daninger earned 13 kills and five blocks for the offense, while Freer added seven kills and four blocks. Senior Kristy Dellwo had four kills and six blocks, followed by junior Payton Baker with three kills.
On the right side, senior Chelsie Bethke recorded 15 set assists, eight digs, six kills and four aces while senior Kenzie VanBuskirk earned 24 assists.
Head coach Sherri Alm said her team needs to play smarter to get wins.
“In a nutshell we killed ourselves with our errors – way too many net and ball-handling violations,” Alm said. “We are much more like the set-three team.”
The Rangers also traveled to Shakopee over the weekend for four matches against teams from around the state. Forest Lake opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over the host team, followed by a 2-1 loss to Bethlehem Academy, who is ranked No. 2 in the state for Class A. The Rangers then defeated Duluth East 2-0 before falling 2-0 to Rochester Mayo, whose only loss in seven matches this season was to No. 4 Eagan
Forest Lake traveled to Chisago Lakes on Tuesday and hosts North Branch at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12.