The Faribault Falcons volleyball team looked like they were going to lose their Big Nine Conference opener to Rochester John Marshall tonight but had an incredible comeback to win 3-2 in Nomeland Gym.

The Falcons won the first set 25-18 thanks in large part to 12 errors by the Rockets (6 hitting errors, 4 service errors, 2 in the net calls).  The second set frankly it looked as if Faribault was playing in mud,  They had 10 errors and Rochester John Marshall won 25-16.

The third set was a John Marshall win 25-20.  The fourth set it looked like the Rockets were going to have a happy bus ride home.  Up by 6 points 20-14 they started having a few miscues and the Falcons combination of juniors Payton Evenstad and Bennett Wolff caught fire.  Faribault had 3 set points before winning 28-26.  John Marshall had a match point but couldn't put away the Falcons.

My statistics had the two combine for 13 kills in the fourth set.  It was either Wolff setting to Evenstad or Evenstad setting to Wolff.  Before all that happened though freshman Clara Malecha came on the floor and chased down two balls on opposite sides of the court.  One of the saves ended with a Faribault point, the other did not but I thought her energy lifted the team.

Falcons Head Coah JoAnna Lane agreed with my choice of Malecha as one of our Faribault State Farm Insurance Agents Faribault players of the match.  She didn't see the floor a ton but those hustle plays sparked the Falcons when they needed it.

Evenstad and Wolff were my other State Farm Players of the match.

Coach Lane noted Wolff hit a blistering .400 on the night with their statisticians marking down 13 kills (I had 15).  Evenstad clubbed 14 kills according to the official stats (I had 18 kills on my notepad).

In the 5th set Faribault jumped out to a 3-0 lead.  The score was tied a couple of times.  The Rockets had a service error and a hitting error on the final two points to secure the Falcons victory.

Rochester John Marshall senior outside hitter Katilyn Steffes appeared to be tired in the fifth set.  The Rockets went to her a lot on the night and for good reason.  Steffes has an ability to hang in the air and survey the court before pulverizing the ball.  She had 15 kills through the first three sets by my count and finished with 22 kills on the night.

There is still a lot of room for improvement.  Faribault had 3 service errors in the shortened fifth set and finished with 8 on the night.  John Marshall had 11 service errors.

Faribault plays in a Apple Valley Tournament Friday and Saturday so we won't have any guests for the Bashers and G&H Properties Faribault Coaches Show on Saturday.

The Falcons travel to Mankato West Monday night, then go to Mankato East Thursday of next week.

Faribault dropped their first two matches of the season to Farmington and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown before picking up the victory.  The Falcons are 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the Big 9.


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