Golden Rams volleyball off to blistering 4-2 start

For the second week in a row, Anoka-Ramsey Community College sophomore volleyball player Jordan Moenning (Elk River) was named Minnesota College Athletic Conference Southern Division’s All-Around Player of the Week.

She had 27 kills, 87 digs and three aces over three matches for the Golden Rams between Sept. 4-8. Her 59 kills leads the division and her .333 hitting percentage ranks third along with her 6.32 digs average.

The Golden Rams dropped to 4-2 overall after splitting two games against conference foe St. Cloud and were swept by North Dakota School of Science 3-0.

Anoka-Ramsey opened the week Sept. 4 with a 3-1 loss to St. Cloud 24-26, 25-23, 27-29, 18-25 only to win the rematch two days later 3-2. The Golden Rams had a few chances to put away St. Cloud in the first game, but lost set-point serves that snowballed into set losses in the first and third sets.

Golden Rams coach Susan Hartfiel said both matches against St. Cloud were back-and-forth with leads constantly changing.

Anoka-Ramsey won the first set of the rematch with St. Cloud 25-19, but lost the next two sets 25-15 and 25-17 before rallying to win the final two sets 25-21 and 18-16.

North Dakota School of Science swept Anoka-Ramsey 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-20) Sept. 7.

Now in her third season leading the Golden Rams, Hartfiel installed a blueprint for success with the goal of a stronger finish to the season and a winning record. Increasing kills, digs and efficiency percentages per game are three tangible goals she has put in place to help a squad with only two returning players from last season’s 4-12 overall record.

The top four teams from each division meet for a conference playoff with the top two teams moving to the national tournament.

Moenning, a setter, and middle hitter Kaitlyn Hannigan (Lino Lakes) are the lone returnees this fall.

“With [post-secondary options] some [players] are one [season] and done,” Hartfiel said.

Knowing the role of each position on the court is more important than the actual player’s tendencies for Hartfiel, she said. “If you know the game, then you should be able to play with anyone,” Hartfiel said.

She gave the example of a ball that is hit midway down the left sideline. The left frontline player should know that the left back line player should make the dig, according to Hartfiel.

Hartfiel said she has four reliable hitters that can consistently generate points, including Hannigan and freshmen Agabo Okwan (Coon Rapids), Alyssa Thom (Braham) and Kayla Dahl (Big Lake).

A consistent attack is something the coach hopes will generate enough momentum to take the Golden Rams to the postseason.

Okwan earned Hitter of the Week honors for the week of Sept. 2. She had 12 kills in the win against Minnesota West and ranks fourth in the division in attack percentage (.353) and kills per set (2.6).

Okwan highlighted the Golden Rams’ efforts all week with 20 kills, five aces and 57 digs. She had five of seven blocks in the win over St. Cloud and earned a double-double with 11 kills and 21 digs in the same match.

Libero/setter Rosie Johnson (Henning) leads the division in set assists with a 9.45 per-game average.

Setter Samantha Brady (Spring Lake Park) had 21 digs in the opening three games of the season, including eight against conference foes Minnesota West and Riverland. She added 43 digs and was perfect serving against St. Cloud and North Dakota School of Science.

The Golden Rams lead the division in digs per game (23.45) and ace serves (2.64) and sit fourth for kills (10.14).

Hartfiel said the leadership and level of volleyball knowledge on this group continues to rise, which is a good thing since few have played together on the same court.

“All of our hitters have a positive hitting efficiency, which is great to see,” she said. “We have a good mix of players, but we really need to work on hitting the ball to specific places on the court.”

The Golden Rams hosted Western Tech (LaCrosse, Wis.) Wednesday before opening a home-and-home series against Dakota County Technical College DCTC. Anoka-Ramsey will travel to Rosemount to face DCTC and Waldorf College Sept. 14 and will return to Coon Rapids to play DCTC and Bismarck State Sept. 15.

 

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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