Kennedy Wins in Five

CEDAR RAPIDS — Two hours. Five sets. And multiple opportunities to wilt.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy refused.

The Cougars won a winner-take-all set for the first time in four tries this season, outlasting Class 4A Cedar Rapids Xavier, 21-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-21, 15-10, in a Mississippi Valley Conference cross-divisional volleyball match Tuesday night at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy's Anna Fluent celebrates a point during the first set of their match against Cedar Rapids Xavier. The Cougars won in a two-hour, five-setter. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)

"We just wanted to win so bad," said Brinley Milbraith, a 6-foot-2 sophomore who overcame a fourth-set leg cramp to make some big plays at big times. "We wanted to win 42nd Street.

"The three sophomores — Anna (Fluent) and Macy (Anderson) and me — we've played together a while (with the Iowa Rockets). And the seniors, they have great leadership."

Down two sets to one, Kennedy (8-6) led Game 4 from start to finish. Then the Cougars did it again in the finale.

Xavier (10-4) committed seven errors in the final set.

"You just can't make than many mistakes in a game to 15," said Saints Coach Krista Johnson. "You can't get behind on errors, then trade points."

Three of the miscues came in a six-point surge that gave Kennedy all sorts of breathing room at 12-5.

"Good win," said Kennedy Coach Michelle Goodall. "Good win against a good team.

"We had a couple times we could have tanked it — Kendal (Meier) sprained an ankle, then Brinley had that leg cramp. But we hung in there."

Milbrath's kill put the Cougars up 17-8 in the fourth set, but she winced when she landed. It looked scary for a moment, but she mustered a smile as she was tended to by a trainer, and ultimately and stayed on the court.

"I guess I just need to eat more bananas," she said.

Xavier pulled within 22-21, but the Cougars closed it out on a kill by Milbraith, an ace by Fluent and a block by Milbrath.

The teams collected 54 kills apiece, but Kennedy's 11-5 advantage in blocks was key.

Erin Coker led the Cougars with 13 kills, followed by Jadyn Gilson (12) and Milbrath (10). Fluent notched 42 assists.

For the Saints, all-stater Kayla Torson posted 20 kills and six aces, and Madsy Richards added 14 kills. Britni Scholtes counted 50 assists.
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