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Volleyball: Cardinals and Panthers swept in Tuesday matches

Mataya Kado recorded 11 kills and a .600 hitting percentage in the Spring Valley Cardinals' 3-0 loss to the Somerset Spartans on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Ellsworth's Alexia Sabby goes up for an outside attack in the Panthers' 3-0 loss to the River Falls Wildcats on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The Spring Valley Cardinals have fallen victim to many close matches so far this season, and despite a comeback effort, their Tuesday, Sept. 11, match was no different.

The Cardinals suffered a 3-0 non-conference loss to the Somerset Spartans on Tuesday, and were defeated by no more than four points in each set.

"It's just that mental toughness that we have to push through and figure out how do we close close games," Cardinals' head coach Kelli Schlegel said. "We're there all the way to the end and then we kind of mentally drop."

The Spartans claimed Sets 1 and 2 by 25-23 margins, then settled the game with a 25-21 Set 3-win despite the Cardinals' valiant effort to come back from an early 13-1 deficit in the final set of the night.

"When it was 13-1, I told them, 'I don't care if we're down by 12 points, you still have to play the game,'" Schlegel said. "I told them to prove to me that they could be mentally tough, and they did an excellent job coming back, so we'll see if that continues."

Lexi Johansen recorded 11 kills against the Spartans, and Mataya Kado finished close behind with 10 kills of her own.

"Those two are definitely our go-to people all around, especially in crunch time," Schlegel said of her team's leading hitters. "We have the confidence in them to make those plays."

Kado and Madeline Matthys led the Cardinals with two aces apiece, while Jasmine Ortner recorded 26 assists and 14 digs to lead the Cardinals in both categories.

Schlegel was also pleased with the back-row play from libero Karley Schilling and Quinn Anderson. "They're always willing to get on the floor and chase down balls, and that's something we need to see more of from everyone," Schlegel said.

The Cardinals are now 6-8 on the season and will host the Boyceville Bulldogs (4-5) on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. for their first best-of-five Dunn-St. Croix Conference match of the season.

River Falls 3, Ellsworth 0

The Ellsworth Panthers were taken down in three sets by the undefeated Division 1 Wildcats on Tuesday, Sept. 11, and are now 6-4 on the season.

The Wildcats took an easy 25-10 victory in Set 1, before winning Set 2 25-20 and Set 3 25-18.

The Panthers will begin their Middle Border Conference play on Thursday, Sept. 13, with a home match against the Prescott Cardinals (5-6), which is set to begin at 7 p.m.