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Led by Ramsay, Moline sweeps Rock Island in huge WB6 volleyball matchup
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Led by Ramsay, Moline sweeps Rock Island in huge WB6 volleyball matchup

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If anyone was unsure who was the best team, or best player, in Western Big 6 Conference volleyball, the answer was clear after Tuesday night.

Moline and Ella Ramsay continued to dominate the rest of the conference in the Maroons’ (25-14, 25-22) sweep of Rock Island.

The win moved Moline closer to clinching the outright conference championship as the Maroons improved to 11-0 in WB6 play, a game and a half ahead Rock Island’s 10-2 mark with three games to play.

All 11 conference victories have come in straight sets. That 22 straight conference set victories for the Maroons in a row.

And Moline has Ramsay to thank for that. The senior outside hitter had a team-high seven kills and four aces, and also added two blocks. Her presence was most noticeable in the first set where she scored five straight points for the Maroons to extend their lead from 14-11 to 19-12.

“She just knows what’s on the line and she leads with her physicality,” Moline coach Sarah Fetter said. “She came out on fire tonight.”

By fire, Fetter means that Ramsay was hitting the ball at a speed that was simply not comparable to anyone else in the gym.

One kill in the first set hit a Rocky defender square in the face, knocking her backwards and out of the game. After the game Rock Island coach Morgan Gray said that the player may be tested for a concussion.

It was a play that swung the momentum of the first set. Moline had gone up for a kill and missed the ball completely on the attempt, causing the rowdy Rock Island student section to get as loud as the football crowds on Friday nights.

But Ramsay’s kill quieted the crowd and shook Rock Island’s confidence. After that, the Maroons would finish the first set on an 11-3 run to win it 25-14.

“Momentum is huge in volleyball,” Fetter said. “We knew it would be high-energy tonight, being in their gym, so getting the momentum on our side and keeping it was what we needed to do and did in the first set.”

However, the second set was the kind of back-and-forth, competitive set that would be expected from the top two teams in the conference.

Rock Island jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, its largest of the night. Moline was thrown off balance by the Rocks' serving and quickly the momentum seemed to shift.

“They did a great job of being in system in that second set and they ran some different things that we weren’t really prepared for,” Fetter said. “I think our girls did a great job of staying composed and responding to finish that game.”

After a timeout, Moline turned it on.

Ramsay put away two aces on the back line to cut the lead in half and a couple hitting errors by Rock Island tied it up at 5-5. The match went back and forth until Moline took a 21-20 lead. After that, the Rocks collapsed defensively. Ramsay and setter Carly Rouse both delivered kills, and with Moline up 24-22, the Maroons set it up right in the middle for Ramsay who slammed it home for the straight-set victory.

“They do a great job of coming together after every point and taking a deep breath,” Fetter said. “They know they can’t do anything about what just happened but they focus on what’s in front of them and they just do their job.”

It was a tough loss for Rock Island, which dropped its second Western Big 6 game, both to Moline. The first came on Sept. 11 (25-17, 25-20).

“We got flustered,” Rock Island coach Morgan Gray said. “We don’t take as many deep breathes. The pressure definitely got to us. We see great moments, but we need to keep a steady level of play the entire time. We were within a couple points at the end, but can’t take points for granted at the beginning of the game.”

Moline’s Caylee Brandes also had a team-high seven kills. Samantha Veto added three blocks.

Rock Island’s Emily Allison led the way with five kills. Mackenzie Brokaw had a team-high three aces.

Rock Island will return to the court at 7 p.m. Thursday against Sterling on the road.

Moline will be back in action at 6 p.m. Thursday for a road matchup against Geneseo. The Maroons can clinch the conference title with a win because of the tiebreaker over Rock Island.


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