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Friday, October 1st, 2010

Wildcats cruise past Panthers in three

By Randy Bruns
MINSTER - What looked to be an intriguing Midwest Athletic Conference matchup turned into an unexpected romp on Thursday night at Wildcat Gymnasium
The streaking Minster Wildcats used a punishing service game to cruise to an easy win over the visiting Parkway Panthers by scores of 25-18, 25-7 and 25-7.
Minster has now won eight straight matches and sits at 13-4 on the year and 5-1 in the MAC while Parkway has lost two of its last three for an overall record of 15-3 (3-3 MAC).
The way the Wildcats started the first set was a harbinger of things to come. Erica Fullenkamp drilled four aces in a five-point service run to stake the hosts to an 8-2 advantage. The Panthers' service-reception game never recovered the rest of the night.
The Wildcats later built their advantage to 19-9 before Kelsey Bates went on a tear with three blocks and a kill to help bring the Panthers within six at 20-14. A kill by Fullenkamp stopped the mini-run, though, and the hosts cruised to a seven-point victory.
The second set stayed close for awhile, but once again a huge run by Minster spelled doom for Parkway. With her team leading 10-5, Meghan Baumer stepped to the service line for the Wildcats and banged 10 straight winners to help build an insurmountable lead for the hosts. Madeleine Eiting later drilled an ace in a three-point run to end the set at 25-7.
Any chance the Panthers had of getting back into the match quickly faded early in the third set. Fullenkamp smashed two more aces to give the Wildcats an 11-3 lead, and the rout was on. The hosts later tallied four more aces in the set, including one from Ellen Gruber that ended the match.
"We worked really hard this week at gelling as a team and improving our communication," said Minster coach Ashley Rohrer. "We had a pretty good scouting report so we knew where we needed to move our blocks and our girls just played with no fear which definitely brought out their aggressiveness."
Parkway coach Jeff Marbaugh could easily identify the culprit in his team's poor play.
"It boiled down to serve receive," said Marbaugh. "For the most part we were passing the ball to the 10-foot line if we even got it that far, and that's not a good situation against a good team. (Minster) served very aggressively and we didn't handle it. Serve receive is a mindset and when you get in a rut you can either take yourself out of that rut or you can dig yourself deeper. It was a team effort tonight - no matter who we had in there - we weren't passing the ball."
It was a big night for Fullenkamp, who etched her name in Minster's record books and set a career milestone at the same time. The senior, who last week reached the 1,000-kill mark, had 13 assists on the night to put her career total in that category at exactly 1,000. Fullenkamp, who will continue her volleyball career at Bowling Green next year, also drilled seven aces on the night, which was the most in the history of Wildcat volleyball.
"Her work ethic is why she's such a great player," complimented Rohrer of Fullenkamp. "She comes into the gym and works her tail off from start to finish. She started as a freshman and played really well but she still has that hunger to move forward."
Minster will entertain Houston on Monday in a non-conference match before hosting league-leading Marion Local on Thursday for a chance to climb into a tie atop the MAC. Parkway gets a week off before hosting New Bremen next Thursday.
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