The beginning of a busy week ended in a split for Heartland Lutheran on Tuesday night.

Playing the first two of 10 possible matches in a week, the Red Hornets (3-5) opened the evening with a 25-13, 25-22 sweep of Elba, but lost the nightcap to Riverside 25-23, 25-19.

“I thought we played well in the first set (against Riverside),” Red Hornet coach Connie Hiegel said. “Stuff happens in the game of volleyball. Often times, the things you want to control you can’t control. Riverside did a nice job and then in the second set we just missed a few serves we can’t miss.”

Serving was the focus for the Chargers (2-2) against Heartland Lutheran after they had 12 errors in their opening 25-11, 25-22 win over Elba, coach Meridee Heikes said. They cut those errors in half against the Red Hornets.

“We didn’t serve as well as we could have in the first game,” Heikes said. “We want to be aggressive, but we were missing some serves. We kept our passing up (against Heartland Lutheran) and were trying to hit the open spots. We just started trusting each other.

“We started 0-3 and were having a hard time trusting each other. But, we just told the girls to bring the practice team to the gym.”

Both teams played even until some late runs in each set made the difference for the Chargers. In game one, Heartland Lutheran led 23-22, but a 4-hit violation tied the game and then Riverside ended it with kills from Neely Greger and Molly Caraher.

The Red Hornets had to fight back in game two. Riverside jumped to leads of 3-0 and 8-3 before two ace serves from Brynn Saddler cut the lead to 8-7. But, the Chargers responded with another late run.

Leading 17-15, sophomore HaiLee McCready served six straight points getting an ace, but the Red Hornets had five errors. HL responded with two blocks from Madalyn Graham and two kills from Maggie Bexten to get within 24-19, but Hope Schlak’s kill ended the match.

The Red Hornets’ busy week continues with another triangular on Thursday at Cedar Bluffs, the Elba Invitational on Saturday and a triangular at Cross County next Tuesday. Heigel said they are looking forward to competing.

“It’s good in the fact that sometimes if you have too much of a lull and you don’t get any game experience you can be flat,” the coach said. “We’ll come back tomorrow and regroup and get ready for Thursday.”

Schlak led the Chargers with seven kills in game two, while Mariah Marisch had nine set assists and McCready two ace serves. Graham had four kills and five blocks for the Red Hornets and Mollie Bexten has 10 assists and two kills.

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